Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger was lifted from his NLDS Game 1 start against the Dodgers on Tuesday night (SD-LAD GameTracker)in the second inning because of injury. After Clevinger’s second pitch of the inning (his 24th of the game), a 1-0 offering to Cody Bellinger, manager Jayce Tingler and the Padres’ trainer emerged from the dugout, spoke briefly with Clevinger, and then lifted him from the game.
Right-hander Pierce Johnson replaced him. Here’s a look:
Clevinger escaped a first-inning jam, but his rapidly declining velocity no doubt concerned the Padres:
Of particular note is that Clevinger in Game 1 was making his first start since Sept. 23 because of arm trouble. He was originally diagnosed with a biceps issue, but an MRI subsequently revealed an elbow strain. Given those velocity numbers above, it’s no stretch to assume Clevinger is now dealing with more serious arm issues.
During an in-game interview in the top of the third, Tingler said Clevinger was being examined by the team medical staff.
The Padres acquired Clevinger from Cleveland prior to this year’s Aug. 31 trade deadline as the centerpiece of an eight-player trade. The Padres’ other top starter, Dinelson Lamet, is also sidelined with injury (biceps tightness). The Padres were able to advance past the Cardinals in the Wild Card Series without their best two starting pitchers, but the Dodgers — MLB‘s best team during the regular season — pose a much stiffer challenge.
As well, the LDS schedule includes no off days, which could further strain the San Diego pitching staff.