Kershaw Scratch Sets Up for Finale

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On Sunday afternoon, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly scratched star pitcher Clayton Kershaw from his Sunday night start against the Giants.

Bruce Bochy and company were cool with that, since it led to a 4-0 win over Joe Blanton, who is much more fun to hit against than Kershaw. What makes this interesting, though, is that now Kershaw will pitch the opener of the final season against the Giants ... provided he's healthy.

Kershaw was having, um, some health issues this weekend.

"He was feeling something in his manly region," Mattingly said.

Uh, OK. It's actually not amusing: Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times notes that the Dodgers were worried Kershaw might have a hernia and took him for an MRI over the weekend.

Mattingly said the Dodgers would've pitched Kershaw if it was Game 7 of the World Series, but it was kind of a big game. Beating the Giants would've meant cutting the NL West lead to 3.5 games. Instead, the Giants won and pushed it to 5.5.

So what does this mean for the Giants? Well, Kershaw will now pitch Tuesday against the Diamondbacks and then likely Sunday against the Cardinals. That'll put him on target for a September start against the Reds, another September go against the Padres and then, in his final start of the regular season, against the Giants in the season's final series.

Perhaps Mattingly thought Blanton could handle picking up the win when the Giants had Barry Zito pitching. Perhaps Kershaw's injury is worse than he's letting on. Or perhaps Mattingly has Kershaw in a head-to-head fantasy league and really wanted him to have a two-start week during the fantasy playoffs.

Either way, it's a pretty big gamble (unless it's totally health-related) and it doesn't appear to be paying immediate dividends.

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