LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers took a big blow before they even began a postseason defense of their World Series championship.
Ace Clayton Kershaw exited his start with left forearm discomfort in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night. It's the same injury that shut him down from July 4 to Sept. 12.
“Chances are, it's not looking great for October right now,” a glum Kershaw said. “I just wanted to be a part of this team going through October. This team is special.”
Kershaw will have further tests on Saturday, manager Dave Roberts said.
“Just not too optimistic right now,” Roberts said.
Kershaw is 10-8 with a 3.38 ERA, his highest mark since a 4.26 ERA as a rookie in 2008.
He gave up three runs and two hits on 42 pitches over 1 2/3 innings in his final regular-season start. The left-hander struck out one and walked none before he felt pain strong enough that he had to stop.
“That’s the hard part right now, knowing it’s going to be a challenge to even contribute at all this next month,” he said.
Roberts and a trainer went to the mound to check on the three-time Cy Young Award winner after seeing him wince a few times.
“It was difficult,” Roberts said. “Last home start this year and you just don’t know what the future is going to predict. I wanted it to be really special for him and his family.”
Kershaw walked off and rather than give up the ball, as pitchers typically do when they’re being replaced, he kept it in his glove.
“Probably just shock. I had no idea I was holding onto the ball,” he said. “Probably should have given it to Doc.”
Kershaw can become a free agent after this season. Depending on whether the playoff-bound Dodgers advance in the postseason and his health, it could have been his last appearance with the team.
“As far as anything else goes, I haven’t wrapped my head around it," he said, “and I don’t plan to anytime soon.”
The Dodgers remained two games behind San Francisco in the chase for the NL West title but assured of hosting the NL wild-card game if they don't catch the Giants with two games left.
Kershaw lost his last start at Arizona last weekend, allowing four runs (three earned) and six hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 7-2 defeat.
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