'It's not looking great for October': Clayton Kershaw questionable for playoffs with forearm discomfort

Clayton Kershaw exited in the second inning after only 42 pitches on Friday night, raising serious concern about his availability for the postseason.

The Dodgers won, 8-6, against the Milwaukee Brewers but with thoughts of losing Kershaw on everyone's minds.

Kershaw pulled after 42 pitches

Kershaw made his fourth start after a left forearm injury kept him out for nearly three months. He was pulled in the second inning after allowing an RBI double to Kolten Wong and received a roaring ovation upon his exit with manager Dave Roberts and trainers.

"It just got bad enough to where I couldn't keep going tonight," Kershaw said, via Alden Gonzalez at ESPN. "I'll get it looked at again, obviously, in the next couple days. Haven't quite wrapped my head around all that yet. The biggest thing was 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 just knowing that chances are it's not looking great for October right now."

Kershaw, 33, struggled in the start on Friday and said once he threw the slider to Wong, he knew it was his last pitch. He will undergo further testing on Saturday.

The Dodgers legend experienced inflammation around his pitching elbow shortly before the All-Star break and rehabbed for about 10 weeks before returning to the mound. He said he tried to return too quickly at first, and had to restart rehab.

Dodgers: Not too optimistic on Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw doesn't think he'll be pitching in the postseason. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Roberts is also resigned to the idea Kershaw might not be available for a postseason run to defend the club's 2020 title.

"Obviously when Clayton has to come out of a game, it doesn't bode well," Roberts told reporters. "What that means, we just don't know enough right now. But where we're at in the schedule, with what's left of the season, just not too optimistic right now."

“I don’t really know specifics. But he couldn’t keep pitching [on Friday], so that’s pretty telling.”

The 33-year-old has won three Cy Youngs and cemented himself as a franchise hero, finally breaking through in 2020 to win a World Series. But he tallied a 3.55 ERA this season — his worst since his 2008 rookie campaign — and is no longer the ace of the staff.

Friday night's start was already scheduled to be Kershaw's last in the regular season. It could also be his last in a Dodgers uniform as his three-year, $93 million extension is up at season's end.

That's not what Kershaw is locked in on at the moment.

"My future's gonna take care of itself," Kershaw said, via ESPN. "I'm not really worried about that right now. I really wanted to be a part of the moment right now, and I wanted to be with this group going through October. That was my only focus this year. Once I got hurt, it was just to come back and make it up for this month. That's the hard part right now is knowing it's gonna be a challenge to even contribute at all this next month. But as far as anything else goes — I haven't wrapped my head around it, and I don't plan to any time soon. I'm just excited to watch these guys next month."

Dodgers fighting for NL West, No. 1 seed

The Dodgers are still in contention to win a ninth consecutive National League West crown with two games left. They need to win both games and have the San Francisco Giants lose two games to force a tiebreaker on Monday. That winner will be the No. 1 seed in the NL.

The Dodgers will most likely lock in a wild-card spot and have to play the St. Louis Cardinals in a single-elimination game on Wednesday. The NL Division Series against the Giants awaits afterward.

Max Scherzer is lined up to pitch against Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, with Walker Buehler and Julio Urias lined up to start should they reach the NLDS.