The lefty hit the 10-day IL in early July with forearm inflammation, but it quickly became apparent that he was going to be on the shelf for much longer than the 10-day minimum.
For more than two months, he had to watch from the dugout as his club fought to stay afloat in the NL West.
That had to be a helpless feeling.
Fortunately, the veteran returned to action about a week ago.
He made his first start since his IL stint on September 13, and although he pitched well, he wasn’t credited with the win.
However, on Sunday, Kershaw made his second start since returning from the IL, and this time, he did get the victory.
For someone who was sidelined for about 10 weeks, that had to be a good feeling.
Here’s what you need to know.
Kershaw Looks Has Looked Very Sharp Since Coming Off The Injured List
By his standards, Kershaw’s 2021 season hasn’t been jaw-dropping.
However, since coming off the IL, he has looked very sharp.
In his first outing, he tossed 4.1 innings of one-run ball.
He was on a pitch count but was very efficient, as he needed just 50 pitches to work into the fifth.
He allowed four hits, one walk, and fanned five.
In his second start, he turned things up a notch.
Though still on a pitch count, he allowed just three baserunners and one run over five innings.
He fanned eight along the way.
As mentioned, he got the win.
Clayton Kershaw’s first two starts back from the IL for the Dodgers: 9 1/3 innings, one run, eight baserunners, 13 strikeouts.
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) September 19, 2021
The 33-year-old’s velocity is understandably down since his return from the IL, but he has been locating his pitches exceptionally well.
For a guy with such nasty secondary stuff, location is the most important thing.
Clayton Kershaw, 74mph Cooperstown Curveball. 👑 pic.twitter.com/pm79Mxo1FY
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 19, 2021
Plus, with time, Kershaw’s velocity will probably start to climb back up.
We’ll see if that happens in time for the postseason.
On the year, Kershaw now has a 3.27 ERA, 2.80 FIP, and 0.97 WHIP.
It’s wild that this is considered a down year for him.
Now That Kershaw Is Back, The Dodgers’ Potential Playoff Rotation Is Scary
In many ways, Kershaw’s return is a nightmare for other teams.
There are no nights off against a staff like that.
— Treat Tweets (@RealTreatTweets) September 14, 2021
Baseball is certainly unpredictable, but the Dodgers would be heavily favored going into any playoff series as long as that four-man rotation were to stay healthy.
Oddly enough, the biggest challenge for L.A. might be merely making it to a playoff series.
The team is still alive in the NL West race, but unless the Dodgers find a way to close the gap on the first-place San Francisco Giants, L.A. is going to find itself in a single-elimination Wild Card Game to start the postseason.
Anything can happen in one game.
We’ll have to wait and see how everything unfolds.