For the second consecutive Sunday, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his scheduled start with pain in his left hip. Last week, after getting a cortisone shot in his hip, Kershaw was able to start two days later and pitch seven strong innings. But this time sounds worse for the left-hander.
Kershaw will meet with hip specialist Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York on Tuesday while the Dodgers are in Washington, D.C., to face the Nationals. That meeting will determine Kershaw's availability over the final two weeks of the season.
Needless to say, the Dodgers would be helped in their quest for the playoffs, as they trail the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League wild-card spot with 15 games left to play, with the services of their ace. Kershaw is 13-9 and among the league leaders in ERA (2.70), strikeouts (206) and innings pitched (206 2/3).
But Kershaw and the Dodgers know that, with his current hip condition, the left-hander is simply unavailable. "There was no fight as far as him wanting to try and pitch. He knows he can't pitch like this," said manager Don Mattingly.
If Kershaw does in fact need surgery to repair his hip, as is feared, his return for the start of the 2013 season is in doubt. But they won't know anything until Kershaw meets with Dr. Kelly in New York on Tuesday.
After facing 818 batters in 2012, Tuesday just might be Kershaw's most important encounter of the season.