Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from his scheduled Game 2 start tonight in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves due to back spasms, it has been announced. Taking his place is rookie Tony Gonsolin.
This is a big blow for the Dodgers. Kershaw isn’t necessarily still the holder of “best pitcher in the game” like he was a couple of years ago, before injuries began troubling him, he’s still an elite starting pitcher. Kershaw put up a 2.16 ERA and 3.31 FIP in 10 starts in the regular season in 2020, and has allowed just 3 runs in 14 innings of work in the playoffs thusfar. Kershaw has been dogged by back issues the past few years, and a best case scenario for the Dodgers would seem to be a Game 5 start in this series, assuming it goes that far.
The good news for the Dodgers is that they have the sort of depth that makes them better situated than any other major league team to absorb a blow like this. Gonsolin, a 26 year old righthander, put up a 2.31 ERA and 2.29 FIP in 46.2 IP in 2020, after putting up a 2.93 ERA and 3.86 FIP in 40 innings in 2019. He’s not Clayton Kershaw, but he still puts the Dodgers in a pretty good position for tonight’s Game 2.
The Atlanta Braves will be sending out Ian Anderson as their Game 2 starter.