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Clayton Kershaw Injury, A Potential Season-Ender, Changes Sunday's Cardinals Vs. Dodgers Matchup

The St. Louis Cardinals dodged one of the best pitchers in baseball ahead of Sunday's series finale at the Los Angeles Dodgers, but nobody was rooting for the Cardinals' odds to improve in this way, with what appars to be a season-ending Clayton Kershaw injury. Kershaw's left the team to be examined for a possible torn labrum in his hip, ending his 2012 season and terrifying a lot of Dodgers fans who fail to read past "torn labrum" in all the news reports.

Kershaw, 24, leads the National League with 206 strikeouts and 207 innings pitched; his 12-9 win-loss record severely understates his effectiveness, and overstates the difference between this season and his Cy Young award-winning 2011, in which he went 21-5. He was easily among baseball's best pitchers again in 2012.

In his place the Dodgers will send Stephen Fife to make his fourth start of the season against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. The 25-year-old has a 2.16 ERA in his first three, though his peripherals don't exactly support that. In AAA Albuquerque, he's 11-7 with a PCL-inflated ERA of 4.66 after coming over from Boston in last season's convoluted Erik Bedard trade.