Kershaw allowed one run over 4.1 innings in a no-decision on Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Clayton Kershaw’s return off the IL:
4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 50 pitches, 32 CSW%. His ERA is 3.33.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 14, 2021
The talented left-hander conceded four hits in the fine outing, while handing out one walk and striking out five.
He didn’t provide much length, but given that he is just returning from an arm injury, it’s perfectly understandable that manager Dave Roberts takes things slow.
Slowly Rounding Into Form
In total, Kershaw threw 50 pitches, and will ramp up from this point to the end of the season with the hope of getting to the playoffs stretched out to around 100 pitches.
For the year, Kershaw has pitched 110.2 solid innings, with a 3.33 ERA, 132 strikeouts, and a 0.98 WHIP.
What does his return mean to the Dodgers’ rotation?
Well, it means that Los Angeles will be very, very hard to beat come October.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Dodgers have a collective 2.94 ERA, the best in MLB with some difference.
They are also first in the league in runs allowed per game, with only 3.4.
The most impressive part of those stats is that they have managed to achieve excellence with several absences.
They have been without Dustin May virtually all year, as he suffered elbow ligament damage that required Tommy John surgery.
Even top prospect Josiah Gray was traded, so his impact with the 2021 was very limited.
He did, however, bring back Max Scherzer, who is pitching like the top Cy Young candidate in the National League.
What Kershaw’s return means is that the Dodgers starting rotation for the postseason will now be Kershaw, Scherzer, Buehler, and Urias.
#Dodgers starting pitchers Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin in last turn through rotation: 31 1/3 IP, 16 H, 3 ER, 6 BBs, 32 Ks for an 0.86 ERA.
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) September 15, 2021
An Elite Rotation
Kershaw is a former Cy Young (and MVP) winner, while Scherzer also won the league’s top award for a pitcher several times in his career.
Buehler, hear this, has a 14-3 record with a 2.32 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in 186 frames in the 2021 season.
Those are Cy Young-worthy numbers, and he will surely receive some votes (deservedly so).
Urias has also been brilliant in the 2021 campaign, with a 2.98 ERA and a phenomenal 17-3 record in 163.1 innings, striking out 175 foes.
And the Dodgers, if that wasn’t enough, have the luxury of boasting a really talented fifth starter in Gonsolin.
Gonsolin also returned from injury recently, and is still an important part of the pitching puzzle for the Dodgers in the postseason.
Having Kershaw back also means that all of the aforementioned pitchers will likely have a little less pressure in the playoffs.
Everybody knows, despite the fact that Scherzer and Buehler are in the rotation, that Kershaw is considered the ace of the unit.
And he proved last year that he can pitch like an ace in the biggest of stages and win it all.
Having him back healthy is a huge boost for the Dodgers’ chances of repeating.