Dodgers injuries: Clayton Kershaw will miss postseason, Max Muncy could return if Los Angeles advances

The Los Angeles Dodgers may be without two important players this postseason. Erstwhile ace Clayton Kershaw will indeed miss the postseason, manager Dave Roberts confirmed Tuesday, and first baseman Max Muncy could return should the club make a deep run. He will definitely miss Wednesday’s NL Wild Card Game, however.

“Still trying to hold our glimmer of hope he’ll be able to join us later in postseason,” Roberts told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, about Muncy’s injury. There is no ligament damage in his elbow and he does not require surgery, though the injury will cause Muncy to miss time.

The injury occurred in the third inning of Sunday’s regular season finale against the Brewers. Jace Peterson hit a tapper back in front of the plate, and catcher Will Smith’s throw took Muncy’s arm into Peterson’s path, and the two collided. Muncy was in obvious pain and left the game holding his arm.

Albert Pujols replaced Muncy at first base Sunday and is presumably a candidate to start the Wild Card Game. Roberts said the team has not yet decided who will replace Muncy in the lineup, however. Matt Beaty is another candidate, though Cody Bellinger seems likely to remain in center field.

As for Kershaw, he exited Friday’s start after 42 pitches and 1 2/3 innings with renewed discomfort in his forearm/elbow. He missed more than three months with the same injury earlier this year, and only returned in September. Roberts said Kershaw does not have any ligament damage in his elbow but will not pitch this postseason.

“[Tommy John surgery] is not on the table … Which is great news,” Roberts told reporters, including ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. Forearm issues are a common precursor to Tommy John surgery.

Max Scherzer will start the Wild Card Game on Wednesday, then Walker Buehler and Julio Urías will start Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS should the Dodgers, respectively. Scherzer could return to pitch Game 3 on normal rest, though Los Angeles would need to come up with a Game 4 starter. Tony Gonsolin is an possible candidate.

The Dodgers went 106-56 this season and finished with the best run differential in baseball (plus-269). Unfortunately for them, they played in the same division as the 107-win Giants, and are stuck playing the Cardinals in the win-or-go-home Wild Card Game.

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