Dodgers @ Marlins September 9, 2016: Kershaw’s back, baby

Dodgers
Marlins
4:10 p.m. PT
Miami
2B Utley  2B Gordon
SS Seager  C Realmuto
3B Turner  3B Prado
1B González  CF Yelich
C Grandal  RF Ozuna
RF Reddick  LF Francoeur
CF Pederson  1B Johnson
LF Toles  SS Hechavarría
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Fernández (R)

(As in, Clayton Kershaw has returned. Now let’s never talk of his back again.)

Dustin wrote earlier today about remaining cautious in our optimism over Kershaw’s return to action. He’s probably right — Kershaw isn’t going to be at full strength, and we’re likely not going to see Kershaw go as deep into this game as we’re accustomed to with him (he’s “inning to inning,” and aren’t we all).

In his rehab start last Saturday at Rancho Cucamonga, Kershaw threw 34 pitches (then 15 in the bullpen). The stuff was mostly there, per Jack Baer of MLB.com. His fastball was hitting 94 MPH, and it and his slider were “pretty decent,” though his curve “needs a little work.” At this point, though, Kershaw’s still not stretched out just yet.

But man, is it hard not to be downright giddy about the fact that Clayton Kershaw, the very best pitcher on the whole planet, is back on a big-league mound for the first time in more than two months. Enjoy it, folks.

Kershaw isn’t the only ace on the hill in this game. Jose Fernández gets the start for the Marlins, and he’s having a very good season. In 26 starts, Fernández has an ERA of 3.03 (a good deal higher than his 2.36 FIP) and a 1.17 WHIP. He leads Major League starters in K rate (34.2%) and K/9 (12.57), and it’s not especially close. Fernandez isn’t immune to giving up walks, though his BB rate (7.5%) and his BB/9 (2.81) are still better than league average. The Marlins are 15-11 in his starts this season, and 9-4 when he starts at home.

The Dodgers saw Fernández when the Fish were in town in April. In that start, he struck out eight and walked three while allowing two runs in six innings. You’ll remember — or maybe you’ve blocked it out, I don’t know — the Marlins swept that four-game series, which, to this point is the only time the Dodgers have been swept all year (save for the two-game series they lost in Anaheim). Today, Fernández will face what seems to be the standard “Dodgers-versus-very-good-RHP” lineup, featuring seven lefties (plus Kershaw) and one Justin Turner.

It took a long time for the Dodgers to announce the corresponding move to get Kershaw on the 40-man (15 minutes before first pitch), but here it is:

Here’s what to expect with the Dodgers rotation after this series:

Looks like Andre Ethier is just about ready to come back:

The Dodgers will need to make another move to get Ethier reinstated on the 40-man roster.

—–

It’s the anniversary of one of the greatest moments in Dodger history: Sandy Koufax‘s perfect game. Here, if you haven’t yet today, experience those million butterflies:

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now a reporter/producer for MLB.com. She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.