The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the middle of a collapse that has taken them from a near-lock for the postseason, to on the outside looking in. On Sunday things got even worse.
The Dodgers lost on Sunday, and are now 7.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West, and one-game out of the final NL wild card spot. But Los Angeles also learned on Sunday that they will likely finish the regular season without the ace starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.
The 2011 National League Cy Young Award winner is probably done for the 2012 season thanks to right-hip inflammation that has been bothering him for a while. Kershaw took a cortisone shot to help dull the pain last week, but couldn’t even make an attempt to start on Sunday.
Before the game, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Kershaw he wasn’t going to pitch until he saw hip specialist Dr. Bryan Kelly, and the 24-year-old didn’t argue with his manager. If Kershaw opts to have surgery on his hip he will likely miss the start of the 2013 season as well. It would be a huge blow to the team.
Kershaw was easily the ace of Los Angeles’ staff despite having just a 12-9 record this season. So far in 2012 he boasts a 2.70 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and an NL-best 206 strikeouts in 206.2 innings. He has also allowed just 157 hits and 53 walks this season.
Chad Billingsley has also been shut down for the season, which means the Dodgers are really up against it with two weeks left in the season. They added Joe Blanton and Josh Beckett via trade earlier in 2012, but neither guy has looked good in Dodger Blue.
Unless Kershaw makes some kind of miraculous recovery, the Dodgers are going to have serious problems making the playoffs this year.