With the start of the National League Division Series only one day away, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the final stages of their preparation for the New York Mets. have finally announced the first three starters in their pitching rotation.
Reigning Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw is set to start Game 1, followed by 2015 CY Young hopeful Zack Greinke in Game 2, and lastly southpaw Brett Anderson in Game 3. Los Angeles did not name a starter for a potential Game 4.
That of course leaves the door open for Alex Wood to take the mound, or Kershaw to go on short rest. When asked for his philosophy on starting a pitcher without allowing him to receive normal rest between outings, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi didn’t have a clear-cut answer.
“It’s a complicated decision. Part of what complicates it is, you usually aren’t going off a great sample in terms of guys having done it in the past,” he said. “It’s becoming a less and less frequent thing. There’s no easy way to evaluate it. You kind of just have to go case-by-case and a lot of times see how a series evolves before making that decision.”
Given the Dodgers are in their first season with a revamped front office that relies heavily on advanced metrics, manager Don Mattingly added plenty of information would be gathered before deciding which direction to go in for a potential Game 4.
“I’m sure with Andrew [Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations] and Farhan, if we talked about it at all, they’d go back and look at his velocities and things on three days, and how it compares, if there’s a big drop or if there isn’t,” Mattingly said.
“I’m sure they’ll look at it in-depth to help us make a better decision.” Kershaw would of course be the option to start on short rest in Game 4, as he’s previously done so in the NLDS.
In 2013 he threw against the Atlanta Braves and last year he also pitched on short rest against the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s been met with mixed results as the Dodgers defeated the Braves, though with Kershaw not earning a decision, and a loss to the Cardinals.