Clayton Kershaw headed to 15-day DL with back pain

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Verducci: 'Clayton Kershaw is on the best pitching run of all time'

According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, Los Angeles Dodgers ace starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw has received an epidural for persistent back pain and will be going on the 15-day Disabled List.

Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts wasn't sure how long his star left-handed pitcher will be out for, possibly longer than the 15-day minimum requirement of this DL stint.

Kershaw's Dodgers sit a full six games back of their arch rival San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West at 43-37 as of Thursday morning. Given that the Giants have won the last three World Series ending in an even year, Los Angeles might slip even further behind San Francisco in Kershaw's absence.

While the rest of his rotation comrades have largely underwhelming, until going on the Disabled List Kershaw was having an outstanding 2016 MLB campaign. He boasts an 11-2 record in 16 starts, with a 1.79 ERA, a 0.727 WHIP, 145 strikeouts in 121.0 innings pitched, and a 219 ERA+.

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The five-time National League All-Star, three-time National League Cy Young winner, and the 2014 National League MVP was absolutely in the discussion to win all three of these awards again in 2016.

Even if he's out until the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego, Kershaw will likely be recognized for his first half contributions and get the All-Star nod whether or not he is medically cleared to participate. However, a multi-week DL stint might end up costing Kershaw his fourth National League Cy Young award and almost certainly removes him from the conversation to win his second National League MVP award in three seasons.

Kershaw going on the Disabled List is tough news for the Dodgers and Roberts will have to find a way to keep pace with the rival Giants not having his ace pitcher available every fifth day.

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See the highest-paid players of the MLB this season

21 PHOTOS
Highest paid MLB players - 2016
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Highest paid MLB players - 2016

T-25. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees & James Shields, San Diego Padres: $21,000,000

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

24. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles: $21,118,782

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

23. Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees: $21,142,857

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

22. Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals: $21,571,428

(Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

21. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers: $21,607,142

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

20. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers: $21,857,142

(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

T-18. Jose Reyes, Colorado Rockies & Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees: $22,000,000

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

17. Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers: $22,125,000

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

16. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals: $22,142,857

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

15. Hanley Ramirez, Boston Red Sox: $22,750,000

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

14. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins: $23,000,000

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

13. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees: $23,125,000

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

12. Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers: $23,500,000

(Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)

11. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners: $24,000,000

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

T-7. C.C Sabathia, New York Yankees; Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies; Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels; Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs: $25,000,000

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

6. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: $25,857,142

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

T-4. Miguel Cabrera & Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers: $28,000,000

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

3. David Price, Boston Red Sox: $30,000,000

 (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

2. Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks: $34,000,000

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: $34,571,428

(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

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