Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Dodgers should shut down Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp

Look, I'm not one for giving up on a season -- and that's in no way what I'm doing here -- but the Dodgers need to make a couple decisions and stick with them.

The Dodgers need to shut down Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp for the remainder of the season.

I know this isn't going to be a popular opinion, well, anywhere, but I truly believe it's the right move.

First, Kershaw. News came down today that he has a him impingement and would be allowed to pitch again this season and avoid surgery if he pitches with no pain.

That prompted a great response from the Sons of Steve Garvey Twitter account.
"So, while the wording is confusing, doctor says Kershaw CAN pitch through pain, but Dodgers won't LET him pitch if he has pain. Right? -N"
That's basically what it boils down to.

Surprisingly, Kershaw's performance in the last nine games has been masterful: 1.76 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .189 BAA and a 9.5 K/9. Remember when people were freaking out about Kershaw's poor performance? Me either. But I digress.

The doctors said Kershaw couldn't injure his hip further, which is accurate. However, Chad Moriyama has a different take:
"The Dodgers ace, who throws in the mid-90s, trying to take his hips and core out of his throwing motion and put more stress on his arm? That sounds like an awesome workaround!

No wait, it sounds like the worst idea ever.

Not injuring his hip further is one thing, but anybody who throws or hits knows that a significant part in velocity and power stems from the trunk of the body and, specifically, hip rotation. Therefore, the risk wouldn’t be to his hip but to his golden arm, and that’s where the problem lies for me."
Hammer, meet nail head.

As Moriyama said, it's his arm, not his hip, that's in danger of injury. Let's hope the Dodgers make the correct decision.

But Kershaw could have developed the hip injury while compensating for the plantar fasciitis he's had since early June. Jon Weisman wonders if that's the case -- and it's a fair question to ask. There's no sense in him compensating for yet another injury and injuring another part of his body.

Then we have Kemp. The unquestioned best player in the game five months ago, Kemp has struggled through the season with injuries. First it was his hamstring, then it was his hamstring again, then it was his shoulder. The third injury has impacted him the most.

And unlike Kershaw, Kemp has not been able to perform at a high level with his injury (not a knock on him at all).

Since Kemp collided with the center field wall in Colorado on Aug. 28, Kemp has struggled on a level that Juan Uribe can't even comprehend. His triple slash is .113/.175/.208 with one home run, two runs batted in, three walks and 17 strikeouts. He's just 6-for-53 in that 14-game span. He's obviously not well, physically and, unfortunately, isn't helping the team score runs.

We all know the Dodgers are a flawed team. With Chad Billingsley done for the season and the offense sputtering, they won't be long for the playoffs.

The long-term health of both the team's best players FAR outweighs the benefits of a probable failed playoff run. I know anything can happen in the postseason, but with an injured ace and No. 3 hitter, a World Series run this season is highly unlikely.

Kershaw has a much better chance of being shut down, but I'm sure Kemp will play every day until the end of the season. Luckily, his injury isn't serious or should cause long-term concern.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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