Dodgers scratch Clayton Kershaw due to back spasms, Tony Gonsolin will start NLCS Game 2 vs. Braves


The Dodgers have announced that NLCS Game 2 starter Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from the lineup due to back spasms. Tony Gonsolin will get the start against the Braves instead. 

The left-hander made 10 regular-season starts, amassing a 2.16 ERA and a 7.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He checked in with nearly six innings per start. He started a game in both the Wild Card and Division Series, completing 14 innings and allowing nine hits, three runs, and two walks. He also struck out 19 batters.  

Kershaw has battled back issues for several seasons. There’s no way of knowing if Kershaw will be ready to go at all moving forward in the series just yet. There’s optimism Kershaw can go in either Game 3 or Game 4, Jon Morosi of reports.

Gonsolin, 26, was an under-the-radar valuable pitcher for the Dodgers this season. In nine outings (eight starts), he pitched to a 2.31 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with 46 strikeouts against seven walks in 46 2/3 innings. He’s in line now for his first career playoff appearance.

What further makes the situation interesting, and complicated, for the Dodgers is how the rest of the rotation will shake out. Dustin May worked Game 1 in relief while Julio Urias has been used in lengthy relief so far twice in the postseason. Surely now Urias is off the table for relief work and is going to start Game 3, unless Kershaw is OK to go. Then for Game 4, it would need to be May on two days’ rest — again, unless Kershaw is back in the picture for either Game 3 or 4. Then there’s Game 5, where it would have to be Walker Buehler on short rest if Gonsolin, Urias and May start Games 2-4 and Kershaw still isn’t ready. 

There’s even more fallout concerning the bullpen, now not able to lean on May or Urias for big outs and showing vulnerability at the back end. 

Basically, without a Kershaw return, the Dodgers’ NLCS pitching staff is a big question. 

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