Dodgers host Twins while waiting on Kershaw's status (Jul 24, 2017)
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have questions about the severity of Clayton Kershaw's back injury.
The Twins bring 44-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon, who is scheduled to make his second start for Minnesota on Monday amid his rumored retirement options.
Those are just two of the storylines that should make for an interesting opening to a three-game series on Monday. Also, it is the first time the Twins are playing at Dodger Stadium since 2005.
The Dodgers aren't sure what to prepare for in terms of Kershaw's status, but they will know more Monday regarding how long the perennial Cy Young Award candidate will be sidelined.
Kershaw will go on the 10-day disabled list at minimum. He left his Sunday start after just two innings due to lower right back tightness, and the Dodgers recorded a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Logan Forsythe's single in the 10th inning.
Kershaw is the undeniable leader of the Dodgers.
"He's our guy," catcher Austin Barnes said. "Every fifth day, he puts us in a great situation to win the game. Hopefully, he's all right. I know he's going to do whatever he can to get back again. Last year, he came back and was pitching in the playoffs. Hopefully, it's not too serious."
In 2016, Kershaw missed 2 1/2 months of the season with a back disc problem that didn't require surgery.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts thinks the latest injury is muscular in nature.
"With his history, there wasn't any shooting pain down the leg or the sensations he felt last year, so that's encouraging," Roberts said. "Obviously, (with) what he means to our ballclub and his history, yeah there's some pause. We've got to do the scans (and go from there)."
Minnesota embarks on an eight-game West Coast road trip, starting in Los Angeles. Unlike many of his teammates, Colon has played here, but the question is how much more he has left in his career.
Colon is 2-6 with a 5.27 ERA in nine starts against Los Angeles and 2-2 with a 6.08 ERA in four starts at Dodger Stadium.
Colon (2-9, 8.18 ERA overall; 0-1, 9.00 ERA for Minnesota) signed with the Twins after being released by the Braves. He made his debut for Minnesota on Tuesday against the New York Yankees and allowed four runs and eight hits in four-plus innings.
Following the outing, Colon admitted he was considering calling it a career.
"I don't know the context of those conversations, but to think about retiring when you're 44 years old and in baseball, it's a pretty normal thing," Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB.com. "We had a little conversation. He's fine physically. He's scheduled to pitch on Monday, so he'll prepare for that."
The Dodgers are in the middle of a 10-game homestand. They are trying to take advantage of this stretch as they have just eight home games in August.
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been sidelined for three weeks with a foot injury, is expected to be activated to make the start Monday. Ryu (3-6, 4.21 ERA) last pitched on June 28, when he threw 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels.
He has never faced the Twins in his four major league seasons.
Kenta Maeda will make a spot start for the Dodgers on Tuesday because Brandon McCarthy will go on the disabled list due to a blister on his pitching hand.
The Twins (49-48) are just 2 1/2 games back of the first-place Cleveland Indians in the American League Central. They have gone 4-5 since the All-Star break after a 9-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
The Dodgers (68-31) top the National League West by 10 1/2 games and have won 46 consecutive games when they have had a lead at some point.