It’s been a really rough start to the year for the three “juggernauts” of the National League, with only the Cubs among the Dodgers-Nationals-Cubs trio standing above .500.
But while you could ascribe the majority of the Cubs’ struggles to their own underperformance, for the Dodgers and Nationals, it’s been largely about a flood of injuries. And now there’s another one to add to the mix for the Dodgers:
Today, the Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 10-day DL with left bicep tendonitis and recalled Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 6, 2018
Knowing very little, that kinda sounds like a “get him some rest”-type injury, given that we know the Dodgers did this all last year with the new 10-day disabled list. This stint could be backdated such that he’d miss only one start. Or it could be a serious injury. I don’t think folks know at this point.
More generally, though, there is concern about Kershaw’s early performance this year and declining velocity as he enters his 30s:
I wrote @ringer about the continuing decline of Clayton Kershaw's fastball, whether we have to accept that he's now merely great instead of being the best, and what that would mean for his future.https://t.co/IMgahKII5O
— Ben Lindbergh (@BenLindbergh) May 3, 2018
This is notable stuff given that Kershaw was expected to opt out of his current contract with the Dodgers at the end of this season and either enter free agency or, more likely, get a huge new deal from the Dodgers (which would have significant broader market implications – as in … we want to see the Dodgers do that).
It’s weird to see a 2.86 ERA for any pitcher and wonder what the heck is wrong, but such has been the bar with Kershaw. He was very good in 2017, but not quite superhuman, so any decline this year is going to be particularly unnerving for Dodgers fans and Kershaw’s agent.