Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from his scheduled start against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday because of back spasms, the Dodgers announced. Tony Gonsolin will start in his place.
The development comes after the Dodgers dropped Game 1 of the NLCS on Monday 5-1.
Kershaw started two games in the Dodgers’ first two playoff rounds. He logged eight scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts in Game 2 of the wild card series against the Milwaukee Brewers. He then held the San Diego Padres to three runs over six innings in Game 2 of the NL Division Series.
Kershaw didn’t appear to have been hindered by back trouble in either start, but back trouble isn’t new for him. The left-hander missed over a month with back inflammation in 2014. In 2016, he missed more than two months with a herniated disc in his lower back. In 2017, he missed over a month with a strained lower back. In 2018, he was on the injured list for 23 days after straining his lower back again.
This year, Kershaw was placed on the injured list with a lower back issue hours before he was slated to start on opening day. Dustin May replaced Kershaw that day. On Tuesday, it’ll be Gonsolin, who hasn’t pitched in the postseason.
Gonsolin threw in a simulated game Saturday at Globe Life Field. He last appeared in a game Sept. 26, when he allowed four runs in six innings against the Angels. It was his worst outing of the season. He finished the campaign with a 2.31 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts). On Tuesday, he’ll be tasked to help the Dodgers avoid an 0-2 hole.