The Los Angeles Dodgers kept their hopes of winning the NL West alive Friday night, but they lost starter Clayton Kershaw due to an arm injury in the process.
Kershaw left in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the team announced he is dealing with left forearm discomfort. The three-time Cy Young award winner missed almost three months this season with a similar injury.
After the Dodgers beat the Brewers 8-6 at Dodger Stadium for their 104th win of the season, Kershaw and manager Dave Roberts provided a grim outlook for the lefty's availability moving forward.
"It's a tough blow, obviously," Kershaw told reporters, via ESPN's Alden Gonzalez. "Just felt something there in my elbow in the second inning. Forearm, elbow, I don't know what it is. Kind of the same thing I've been dealing with, and it just got bad enough to where I couldn't keep going tonight. I'll get it looked at obviously in the next couple of days. Haven't quite wrapped my head around that yet. The biggest thing is I just wanted to be part of this team going through October. This team is special. You saw tonight ... I've known that. I know that we're gonna do something special this year, and I wanted to be a part of that. That's the hardest part for me right now is that chances are it's not looking great for October right now. Overall, it's gonna be fun to watch. I'm excited for these guys to do what they're gonna do in October."
Kershaw gave up five hits and three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings Friday. He didn't walk any batters and struck out just one. He finishes the regular season with a 3.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings.
"He felt something, didn’t feel like he could continue," Roberts said, via The Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovanna. "We’re gonna do some more tests tomorrow, but obviously, when Clayton has to come out of a game, it doesn’t bode well. Where we’re at with schedule, we’re not too optimistic right now."
In an odd sight, when Kershaw walked off the mound with Roberts and the team trainer, he held onto the baseball rather than leave it on the mound or with the umpire.
The Giants took care of their business Friday night as they shutout the San Diego Padres 3-0. San Francisco heads into the final two games of the regular season with a two-game lead in the NL West. Their magic number to clinch their first division title since 2012 is down to one.
The Dodgers and Giants have a chance to meet in the National League Division Series. One of the two rivals will take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL wild-card game, and the winner of that game will face the NL West winner in the best-of-five NLDS.
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A healthy Kershaw likely would have pitched in one of the games in a potential NLDS against the Giants, whether it was Game 3 or Game 4. Now it sounds as though he won't get a chance to take the field should the Dodgers advance past the wild-card game.
For the moment, Kershaw only is thinking about the present and the upcoming playoffs, but the 33-year-old is a free agent after this season, and if this injury is serious, it puts his future in doubt.