Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw exited Thursday’s game at Oracle Park against the San Francisco Giants due to “low back pain”. His departure in the fifth inning overshadowed the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over the Giants.
Kershaw said he “felt something kind of lock up” after he warmed up to pitch the fifth. The pitcher then attempted to throw another warm-up pitch to test his back, but he winced in pain.
He gestured to the trainer Thomas Albert and said “it’s my back”, before walking off the mound.
“Hard to tell right now,” Kershaw said. “I just felt something kind of lock up there in the fifth. Couldn’t really throw after that.”
Manager Dave Roberts said he was unsure of the severity of Kershaw’s injury or whether he would have to be placed on the injured list. He said there would not be many details available until Friday.
“We just won’t know more until we get some tests,” Roberts said.
The pitcher has struggled with back problems throughout his career, landing on the injury list with a back injury in five of his last seven seasons.
Kershaw has never missed a game for less than three weeks. His month-long injured list stint earlier this season was also caused by back pain from a cross-country flight in May.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner has always been one of the team’s best pitchers when he is physically fit, posting a 2.64 ERA in 15 starts.
The Dodgers did not make a starting pitcher trade before the August 2 Trade Deadline. Instead, they sent away right-hander Mitch White.
Winning over Giants
Following his premature exit, the Dodgers defeated the Giants 5-3 with home runs from Mookie Betts and Trea Turner. The Dodgers have won eight straight games against the Giants.
“We’re playing really good baseball,” Roberts said. “We got timely hitting, [made] plays defensively that we need to [make]. We’re doing things to win baseball games, so it’s really, really good to see.”
Kershaw threw 66 pitches in four innings against the Giants, allowing one earned run and three hits while striking out four.
Kapler, García ejected from game
While the major league-leading Dodgers continued to dominate the game, San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler and reliever Jarlin García were from the field.
After fanning James Outman to end the top of the sixth inning, García made a taunting gesture toward Mookie Betts, which appeared to irritate the star outfielder.
García clenched his fist and pressed it against his cap, mocking the player’s similar hand gesture when a hit was recorded.
First base umpire Phil Cuzzi walked into the Giants dugout to confront Kapler, who became enraged and was ejected for the first time as a San Francisco manager.
Crew chief Dan Bellino told the media after the game that he ejected Kapler over “some derogatory comments” directed at Cuzzi.
“The conversation was basically, ‘That wasn’t OK,’” Kapler said. “And obviously, I took exception to sort of being scolded in front of our dugout about how to approach and address our players.”