Dodgers @ Mets June 23, 2018: Welcome back, Clayton Kershaw

(Via)

The Dodgers won thanks to a grand slam from Cody Bellinger yesterday. Things won’t be as easy today as they’re facing one of the two best pitchers in baseball in Jacob deGrom.

Dodgers
Mets
4:15 PM
Queens
LF
Pederson
LF
Nimmo
1B
Muncy
3B
Frazier
3B
Turner
2B
Cabrera
CF
Bellinger
1B
Flores
RF
Puig
CF
Conforto
C
Grandal
RF
Bautista
SS
Hernández C Mesoraco
2B
Utley
SS
Rosario
P
Kershaw (L)
P
deGrom (R)

But the Dodgers are countering with the best pitcher of the generation in Clayton Kershaw, even if he hasn’t been the pitcher we’ve been accustomed to for nearly the last decade.

When Kershaw was running in the outfield at Citi Field yesterday, it was pretty obvious he was going to get the ball today. Well, to most folks.

I’m such a trouble maker.

Inclement weather was part of the reason Kershaw is getting the start in New York today. It wouldn’t have made any sense for him to fly all the way from New York to Omaha just to not pitch. Also, if he were truly going to pitch for OKC today, he probably would have gone straight from Chicago instead of going to New York first. There’s a chance it could rain at Citi Field tonight, but (according to the forecast), Kershaw will probably out of the game by that time.

Kershaw is returning from the same back injury he had last season. In 2017, he missed five weeks. He’ll have missed just 22 days this time. I hope the Dodgers aren’t being hasty in rushing Kershaw back. The worst thing would be for him to come back early, hurt his back again (or even more severely) and miss the rest of the season.

This might be a rehab-type start for Kershaw because…

And that makes a lot of sense. If he can get through four innings in relatively good shape, I’m sure the Dodgers would take that. Caleb Ferguson might only need to pitch 2-3 innings in that case.

To make room for him on the active roster, the Dodgers sent Adam Liberatore back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

In non-Kershaw news…

Chris Taylor is out of the lineup for a second consecutive game. Enrique Hernandez gets the call at shortstop again (he’s the better defender, anyway). Cody Bellinger shifts to center field with Max Muncy at first base and Mets’ fan favorite Chase Utley getting the nod at second base.

Nice to see Ross Stripling, the ace, is lined up for his next start.

Yay org depth! Kyle Lobstein, a 2008 2nd-rounder, will (hopefully) help the Drillers in the second half.

The Dodgers released 2015 2nd-round pick Mitchell Hansen on Thursday (and he was the topic of my most recent article at True Blue LA). He has signed with the Yankees.

——

Big start today for Kershaw and the Dodgers. If he survives and looks more like the guy of 2017 and earlier, great. If he’s the 2018 version without the biceps and back issue, that’s … fine. If he’s less than that, then that’s not great. It could also help determine what the Dodgers may or may not do at the trade deadline.

Today’s game is on FOX and won’t be blacked out, so enjoy!

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.