Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw Expected to Return from Forearm Injury in September

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 6, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 04: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on in the dugout during the MLB game between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 4, 2021 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be without pitcher Clayton Kershaw until at least next month.

Manager Dave Roberts said he expects the southpaw to return from his forearm injury "sometime in September," per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

Kershaw last appeared in a July 3 victory over the Washington Nationals and has a 3.39 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 127 strikeouts in 106.1 innings this season. That he is still so effective at the age of 33 in his 14th season is particularly impressive, although the injury concern is lingering over the team at this point.

Fortunately for Los Angeles, it bolstered its rotation with a top-end acquisition by trading for Max Scherzer prior to the deadline. He can help cover for Kershaw until the future Hall of Famer is eventually ready to return.

Whether Kershaw is quite as effective when he does return remains to be seen, but the combination of him, Scherzer and Walker Buehler taking the mound in a playoff series is surely worrisome for the rest of the National League contenders.

Winning a series against the powerhouse Dodgers will require figuring out how to prevail against at least two of those starters, which is no easy task.

After all, Kershaw coming back from injury may just be the biggest question mark of the entire group, and he is an all-time great with a resume that includes an MVP, three Cy Youngs, five ERA titles and eight All-Star selections.

Yet the uncertainty on the timeline of his return raises questions that weren't there before, and perhaps meant more depth was needed. The team decided to add veteran Cole Hamels on Wednesday.

The Dodgers are still chasing the San Francisco Giants in the NL West and are four games back, but they at least have a cushion in the wild-card race. They are 3.5 games ahead of the San Diego Padres for the top spot and seven games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for the final spot.

That means a playoff spot will likely be comfortably in hand when Kershaw returns in September.