Dodgers @ Mets Sept. 1, 2022: Clayton Kershaw, the return of the King, in Queens

It has been playoff-like baseball in the first two games of this series featuring the two best teams in the National League (all of baseball?), and the rubber match features the return of the king — Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw has been out since since Aug. 4 with the back injury that has dogged him in recent years. It seems he only needed about a month to recover and, hopefully, be healthy for the stretch run and the postseason. He has a 2.64 ERA, 2.72 FIP and 21.7 K-BB% in his age-34 season. He has twice pitched seven perfect innings before allowing a base runner and, despite the decreased velocity, is pitching at roughly the same clip he has for the entirety of his career. With Walker Buehler out for the season and Tony Gonsolin suffering from a forearm strain, the Dodgers are going to need Kershaw to be healthy going forward. He gets a tough test with the Mets’ lineup this afternoon.

Chris Bassitt gets the ball for the Mets. He has been pretty good in his first season in New York, pitching to a 3.34 ERA, 3.53 FIP and a 16.7 K-BB%. And even with that, he’s probably the third- or fourth-best pitcher in their rotation. The Mets are stacked, folks. The Dodgers should have more success with him than they did last night with Jacob deGrom. That dude is unbelievable.

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Rosters expand to 28 from 26 today. The Dodgers can add one pitcher and hitter. With Blake Treinen due back soon, they might not opt to add a pitcher just yet. However, they might, eventually, have to make room for Danny Duffy.

Remember him? You might not since he hasn’t actually appeared in a game since being acquired at the 2021 trade deadline, but he can pitch.

One player who might not be available soon is Brusdar Graterol.

Sigh. Get well soon, Bruiser.

And another pitcher who might not be available anytime soon is one of the Dodgers’ All-Star pitchers.

Seems not great!

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As for the position player, the one would have thought Edwin Rios or James Outman would be the odds-on favorite. But if you listened to Dave Roberts yesterday, you’d know he had someone else in mind.

As the president of the Miguel Vargas Fan Club, I welcome this. At the same time, I’m not confident he’ll get enough plate appearances to play his way onto the postseason roster. Nevertheless, he was officially recalled today.

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Congrats to former Dodger draftee Cody Thomas for getting the call. And the other 13 players (round drafted in parenthesis) from the 2016 MLB Draft to make it to the bigs are as follows:

Seventeen of 42 selections (40.5%) have reached the majors. That’s just insane. It seems Billy Gasparino, Andrew Friedman and Co., know what they’re doing.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. 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.