It’s been a rough year for the Dodgers, who were the consensus favorite in the National League West heading into the year and arguably the favorite to come back out of the National League for a second straight World Series appearance.
Things got off to a suboptimal start right off the bat when Justin Turner went down with injury before the season even started. He’s returned since then, though his bat hasn’t quite returned to form. Things got even worse when star shortstop Corey Seager went down with an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery. Pretty much every time they turn around something bad has happened, and it led to an early hole in the division.
They’ve been looking a lot more like we thought they’d look over the last few weeks, though, and while they are still under .500 on the season it has been looking like they may salvage this divisional race after all.
Los Angeles got some more good news on Thursday when Clayton Kershaw returned from the disabled list for his first start since May 1 due to back tightness. It looked like the next step for them to continue their recent roll. Instead, their ace and the longtime best pitcher in baseball didn’t look at all like himself. His velocity was down and he just wasn’t as sharp as we’re used to peak Kershaw being. After the game, we found out his back tightened up again and he’ll have to head in for another MRI. There’s no official word, but back injuries tend to linger (anyone of a certain age can attest to this) and Kershaw could land back on the disabled list.
It goes without saying that the Dodgers just don’t need this as they try to get back in the NL West race. As of this writing, the team finds themselves tied for third place with the Giants and six games behind the division-leading Rockies. Last season, they would have been better suited to get by this injury as they had some of the best rotation depth we’ve seen from any staff in recent memory. This year, though, between injuries and just a relative lack of bodies, they don’t have the same kind of talent to turn back on. The Dodgers need Kershaw, but it’s unclear how long this will affect him. Even if he does return, it’s hard to count on him being an elite pitcher in this game. It’s a strange and scary world we’re living in if we have to say that about Clayton Kershaw.
- As much as we all hate it, the Blue Jays have valid enough reasons to keep Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the minors for right now. Just because they can justify, however, doesn’t mean it’s good for baseball. In fact, it sucks a whole lot.
- Perhaps you’ve heard that you generally need to put your foot on home plate to score a run in a game of baseball. Apparently, that did not apply in the Phillies-Dodgers game on Thursday.
- 75 years ago, a group of women played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, opening the door for women to play sports for years to come. Some of the players reflect back on that time and the obstacles they endured.
- Speaking of the AAGPBL, Britni de la Cretaz has a look into the history of queer players in that league and their need to keep that part of their lives a secret.
- The MLB Draft is only a few days away, and whether or not Luke Heimlech — a convicted juvenile sex offender — is one of the biggest stories of the week. The sports media still has no idea how to cover these types of stories.
- Alex Reyes, one of the most talented young pitchers in the game, finally made it back to the mound this week. Now, he’s already back on the disabled list because we can’t have anything good in our lives.
- You may have noticed a seemingly growing number of players with a new flap covering their cheek attached to their batting helmets. You’re not imagining it, and the Brewers are just one organization using the new equipment in spades.
- The Indians have not had the season they were planning on so far, but Francisco Lindor is still incredible and his huge night led them to victory on Thursday.
- Hunter Pence is coming back for the Giants, and Grant is excited about it ... as long as he doesn’t play too much.
- The Phillies have experienced an on-field transformation that has culminated in contention this season, but they’ve also undergone a less-noticed transformation online.
- The Tigers lost Daniel Stumpf to injury. This doesn’t really seem like huge news at first glance, but the result is their bullpen lacking a left-handed arm for the first time in almost a half-century.