Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger was removed from tonight’s game after throwing two pitches in the bottom of the second inning. After tossing 22 pitches in a scoreless first inning that included two walks and a wild pitch, Clevinger threw two balls to Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger before departing after a mound visit from manager Jayce Tingler and a team trainer.
It wasn’t clear until today whether San Diego would even include Clevinger on the NLDS roster, yet Clevinger was indeed on the hill to start Game 1. The righty hadn’t pitched since September 23 due to an elbow strain that forced him to sit out the Padres’ wild card series victory over the Cardinals.
There hasn’t been any word on Clevinger’s status, though Tingler speculated during an in-game interview (hat tip to MLB.com’s Adam Berry) that “I think what happened was that long half-inning there and it tightened up and never warmed back up on him.” The Padres sent six batters to the plate in the top of the second and forced Dodgers starter Walker Buehler to throw 33 pitches, which led to a lengthy wait for Clevinger.
While San Diego likely didn’t expect too long an outing for Clevinger given his return from injury, the Friars have now been forced into a makeshift bullpen game to begin their series with Los Angeles. It will test the depth of a Padres team that is already missing a key arm in Dinelson Lamet and now faces the possibility that Clevinger could be done for at least the rest of this series. As Berry noted, the Padres can make an injury replacement for Clevinger on the NLDS roster, but that would mean Clevinger is also not allowed to pitch should the Padres reach the NL Championship Series.