Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been scratched and replaced with Tony Gonsolin for Game 2. The injury not only affects Game 2 but drastically alters the Dodgers’ game-plan going forward.
Tony Gonsolin comes in with a 2-2 record in 2020 and a 2.31 ERA, so he’s no slouch. This injury, though, could really punish L.A. in Games 6 and 7. Clayton Kershaw was needed in Game 2, but now he’ll likely have just one start in the Championship Series. There was pressure on Kershaw before to turn his postseason resume around, but now he potentially gets only one crack at it.
Max Scherzer had the same type of issue with neck spasms that caused him to miss his Game 5 start in the World Series. Scherzer went on to dominate his remaining start later in the series. That same expectation is now being thrown on Clayton Kershaw, so we’ll see how he handles the pressure.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on the chances of Clayton Kershaw pitching in the NLCS: “The likelihood is very good.”— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 13, 2020
Late cancellation notice of any starter has always been a pitcher advantage, and we can expect the same here. The L.A. bullpen, aside from Game 1, is much improved and can handle a short and sweet four or five innings out of Gonsolin. Acquiring Blake Treinen helps absorb some of Gonsolin’s burden.
Navigating a Braves lineup and getting through a short outing is easier said than done. Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Ozzie Albies, who have recently hit their strides, will all present a challenge for the replacement pitcher.
Right now the pressure is on Atlanta to cash in with Ian Anderson to take a 2-0 series lead. Taking care of business tonight throws the entire series on the back of Clayton Kershaw (no pun intended). L.A. trusts Kershaw to right the ship in the postseason, but this is hardly the ideal situation for him to try and do so.
Braves/Dodgers first pitch is at 6:05 ET. It’s going to dictate all the momentum in this series on Fox Sports 1.