One way or another, the Yankees game Wednesday afternoon will be different. It will be their first chance in three years to face Clayton Kershaw, who is regarded by some to be the best pitcher in baseball. And it will be his first game at Yankee Stadium.
The Dodgers are just interested in seeing him pitch, period. He has worked only three innings since June 26. Those occurred in a loss to the Marlins on Friday night after a long absence because of a back injury.
“You know what? He bounced back well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Kershaw’s past four days. “It was good to get him in the rotation and pitch, but I think for us the bigger question was how would he respond the days following and outside of regular game soreness, he felt good. He’s going to make his start and we’re going to monitor inning by inning.”
Kershaw has started only twice against the Yankees, both times at Dodger Stadium and neither with a decision. He does have a 1.20 ERA in those games.
If the lefthanded pitcher has any of his usual form, it has the makings of a challenge for the Yankees, particularly for Didi Gregorius, expected to return after not starting the past two nights. Gregorius had a pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning Tuesday night.
Gregorius has sore ribs but sounded undaunted about going up against Kershaw. “As long as you’re in the lineup it doesn’t matter who you’re facing. If you’re ready to play, you’re ready to play,” said the Yankees shortstop, who is 1-for-6 lifetime against the Dodgers ace.
Judge to have MRI
Aaron Judge will have an MRI Wednesday to see how severely he strained a right oblique on a swing in the fourth inning Tuesday night. He was trying to be hopeful, but Joe Girardi admitted, “We won’t see him for a while.”
Judge, one of the rookies whose collective energy has fueled the surge and put the Yankees into the wild-card race, was allowed to finish his at-bat against rookie Julio Urias and drew a walk. It was in watching Judge try to run that Girardi decided to take him out of the game against the Dodgers.
The rightfielder said he never has had an oblique injury and has no idea how long he will be out, or if he might return this season. “It’s tough. Nobody wants an injury, especially right now. But we’ve got a good team here and we’ve got to keep rolling, keep winning.”