The slow start to the Los Angeles Dodgers season has many fans from every other team hoping they will collapse. Not because they want the Dodgers to fail (ok, some probably do), but because everyone hopes they will trade their ace starter, Clayton Kershaw. As much of an upgrade as a potential rental Clayton Kershaw would be with his opt-out clause, there is no way they would trade their ace unless the team chooses to rebuild.
The 30-year Kershaw is currently on the disabled list due to left biceps tendinitis and likely out till the end of May, which would hurt the Dodgers potential return. However, before the injury, Kershaw showed some numbers that were a little nerve-racking. In 44 innings pitched, he gave up seven home runs (he gave up 23 in 2017 and eight in 2016). Kershaw surrendered 40 hits in those 44 innings (almost a hit per inning), with only 48 strikeouts. Despite all that, the ace has a 2.86 ERA and a 1-4 win-loss record. There are red flags, but Clayton Kershaw has given us reason to believe when healthy, he will be fine.
Kershaw’s team is another story. The Dodgers have been fighting a lot of injuries. Corey Seager underwent Tommy John surgery and Justin Turner has not played in a game due to a fractured wrist in Spring Training. (However, that should change on Tuesday against the Marlins.) Rich Hill has been fighting injury, including a reoccurrence with the same blister issues he fought in 2017. The Dodgers have also shut down Hyun-Jin Ryu through the All-Star Break with a severe groin strain (to the point the groin muscles were ripped off the bone). It is no wonder the team is only 16-24 and one game above last place in the division.
There are other problems though. Kenley Jansen started the season very shaky. He has not been lights out, but the last few appearances show he is coming back to normal. Pedro Baez is still very unreliable, yet is put in tough situations. The rest of the bullpen is a mix of journeymen who are all underperforming with the exception of Josh Fields (2.45 ERA). Tony Cingrani is injured as well, shut down with left shoulder inflammation. The team is missing Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson in the bullpen, who gave them great performances down the stretch in 2017.
The rotation is a mess. With Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw all out, the rotation is down to Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Walker Buehler, the last of which has been impressive in his short time this season. Otherwise, it has been a combination of Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart, among others getting air time. These are part of the reasons they are 16-24.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to get healthy, and with some positive progression to the mean, they will improve. Everyone would love Clayton Kershaw on their team down the stretch in 2018. It is not going to happen. Do not get your hopes up.