By Mark Saxon
If Clayton Kershaw gets one out in the eighth inning tonight, he will have reached the 200-inning mark for the third straight season. And he's still got six more starts to make this year, at least.
When asked last week whether he would consider using Kershaw on three days' rest for a start or two in these final weeks, manager Don Mattingly made reference to Kershaw's innings. The workload is something to keep an eye on, particularly since Kershaw, 24, has been dealing with a painful foot condition called plantar fasciitis for most of this season.
Kershaw leads the National League with 192 2/3 innings.
Kershaw's next start after tonight will be Sunday in San Francisco. After that, Mattingly indicated, Kershaw would probably get an extra day and pitch the Sept. 15 game at home against the St. Louis Cardinals, who have a half-game lead on the Dodgers for the final wild card spot. As Mattingly said, they've got him lined up to face the right people.
In Kershaw's Cy Young 2012 season, he established a new career high with 233 1/3 innings. He'll probably get close to that number again this season, plus whatever playoff innings he pitches -- if the Dodgers get there.
Kershaw is the same age as Washington's Stephen Strasburg, who is zeroing in on his innings limit for the season, though of course, Strasburg is coming off elbow reconstruction surgery.
The Dodgers will have an intricate balancing act in these final weeks, with the short-term goals of the team measured against the long-term health of its best pitcher.
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