Mike Clevinger may be back for the NLDS, and the Padres need him to have any real chance to take down the Dodgers.
The San Diego Padres won a playoff series for the first time since 1998 on Friday night, and as they prepare to take on the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, help may be coming. According to ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, Mike Clevinger might return for the series.
The Padres were let down by starters Chris Paddack and Zach Davies in the first two games of the series against St. Louis, then they used an opener and nine total pitchers to shut out the Cardinals in the decisive Game 3. Clevinger missed the Cardinals series due to an elbow injury, as did fellow starter Dinelson Lamet with a bicep issue. Both may be back for the Division Series.
Clevinger was acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline. He made four starts for the Padres, with a 2.84 ERA, 19 strikeouts and three walks over 19 innings. But he has pitched just one major league inning since Sept. 13. He left a start against the Angels early on Sept. 23 with the injury that has sidelined him since.
The Padres need Mike Clevinger to beat the Dodgers
Besides his skill level when healthy, Clevinger also brings some playoff experience to the Padres’ pitching staff. He has seven postseason outings and one postseason start on his resume, with a 4.50 ERA over 12 total innings.
After an unproductive bullpen session last Tuesday, there was concern Clevinger would miss the entire postseason. But the news is better now, with the NLDS against the Dodgers set to start on Tuesday.
The Dodgers have a deep starting rotation led by Clayton Kershaw, not to mention a roster full of postseason experience. Clevinger’s role on the mound may be flexible if he can go in the NLDS, but there’s surely hope he can start one of the early games of the series, pitch to his full capability and set the Padres on track for an upset.