Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Cubs during a game… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
CINCINNATI – Clayton Kershaw will start the Dodgers’ series finale against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, according to a team spokesman.
Kershaw hasn’t pitched since Sept. 11 because of a right hip injury. Kershaw and the Dodgers haven’t revealed many details of the injury, including whether it might require off-season surgery.
But an orthopedic surgeon Kershaw visited Tuesday assured him that he wouldn’t do any further damage to the hip by pitching, according to the team.
This could be the Dodgers’ last stand.
Their loss to the Reds on Saturday night increased their deficit to the St. Louis Cardinals to three games for the second of two National League wild-card spots. Including their game in Cincinnati on Sunday, the Dodgers have 10 games remaining in the regular season.
The Dodgers’ place in the standings was one of the factors that was considered by the team’s decision makers when they discussed what to do with Kershaw.
Kershaw threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Friday and worked out Saturday.
If the Dodgers had held him out Sunday, Aaron Harang would have pitched instead.
Harang would have been pitching on three-days’ rest.
Harang once tossed a shutout on short rest. But that was in 2006, when he was 27. And the start was in April, long before the rigors of a season take their toll on an arm.
Harang pitched on short rest two other times. He pitched a combined nine innings in those two games and was charged with 11 runs.