Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
“DodgerHeads” podcast host Jeff Spiegel was joined by Andy McCullough of The Athletic to discuss the Los Angeles Dodgers’ postseason outlook amid questions in their starting rotation, Clayton Kershaw’s future, National League MVP race between Mookie Betts and Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr., and much more.
Along with previously being a Dodgers beat writer and currently working for The Athletic, McCullough is the author of “The Last of His Kind: Clayton Kershaw and the Burden of Greatness” that is currently available for preorder.
Spiegel and McCullough dove into Kershaw’s 2023 season that began on a strong note but has recently been clouded by health questions. Kershaw spent six weeks on the 15-day injured list due to left shoulder inflammation and recently pitched with the lowest fastball velocity of his career.
The Dodgers decided to give their longtime ace extra rest between outings, as Kershaw will have gone 10 days before he takes the mound Saturday against the Seattle Mariners.
The team has continued to maintain the 35-year-old is capable of making regular starts, and Kershaw himself has dismissed his throwing shoulder as being the reason behind recently struggling.
McCullough also shared his thoughts on how Acuña and Betts compare in the NL MVP battle, including a look at how each has the edge in particular statistics.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers are on the verge of a 10th NL West title in the past 11 seasons, but Spiegel and McCullough addressed the unusual position the team finds itself in with respect to the pitching staff.
Dodgers magic number
The Dodgers’ magic number is four to clinch the NL West and secure a postseason berth heading into play Friday. The earliest possible date they can clinch is Saturday, but that would require all possible results to go in their favor.
Thus, clinching in the series finale against the Seattle Mariners or perhaps once the homestand begins Monday are more likely outcomes.
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