Clayton Kershaw is taking the ball for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s slowly built himself up since returning from the injured list, and should be good to give LA strong five innings — exactly what Dave Roberts and co. want with the off day coming before Game 2.
The off days make things very interesting this NLDS, as the Game 1 starter would be on full rest to start Game 4, and extra rest to start Game 5. Kershaw hasn’t started on full rest in quite some time, as he’s made starts the last three Saturdays for LA — this Saturday being his fourth straight.
However, on Friday, ahead of his Game 1 start, Kershaw was asked when he would potentially pitch again for LA. He said he would be ready for Game 4 or 5 — whatever LA needs.
“Game 4, 5, whatever it is. If we get to that point I’ll be ready to go,” Kershaw said. “Things will change a little bit, obviously, a little less rest. But I think that’s what we had to do to make the regular season work, and we’re gonna do the same in the postseason. We’re gonna make it work however I need to. I’ll be ready.”
The Dodgers have been especially careful with Kershaw, giving him a full week between starts. But the postseason is a different animal, and if the Dodgers need Kershaw in a potential Game 4, he’s going to be there for LA. For what it’s worth, manager Dave Roberts said this is the best Kershaw has looked in the last couple months.
Of course, the decision of when to pitch Kershaw again will definitely come down to multiple factors, including how he pitched in Game 1, and what the series is looking like in a potential Game 4. If Kershaw pitches well, and the Games 2 and 3 starters struggle to put LA in a 2-1 deficit, expect to see Kershaw back on the mound at Chase Field in Game 4. However, if the Dodgers are up 2-1, LA will likely elect to save Kershaw for a Game 5 back at Dodger Stadium, if it got to that.
The best thing LA could do is sweep the Diamondbacks, and allow a very well-rested Kershaw start Game 1 of the NLCS. But we have a long way to go before we have to start thinking about that.
Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
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