Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Win or lose tonight, Dodgers to start Kershaw in Game 4

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

On three days’ rest, Clayton Kershaw will start Game 4 of the National League Division Series at New York on Tuesday.

“We just feel like he’s that guy,” Don Mattingly said. “No matter if we’re down 2-1 or up 2-1, we feel like he’s the right guy.”

The move comes as little surprise, although Mattingly cited Alex Wood as a Game 4 option less than 24 hours ago. Wood would now be available out of the bullpen if needed for tonight’s Game 3.

Kershaw allowed three runs on four hits and four walks while striking out 11 in 6 2/3 innings Friday in Game 1 of the NLDS, throwing 113 pitches. Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Kershaw said he appreciated Mattingly’s confidence in him and sounded completely prepared and at ease for his assignment.

“The adrenalin takes over,” Kershaw said this afternoon. “You don’t really feel tired or anything like that. It’s the playoffs. Obviously, routines change a little bit, different things like that. As far as being prepared, being ready for it, I’ll be fine.”

To ready himself on three days’ rest, the 27-year-old lefty said he combines into a single day half of his routine from his typical second day off between starts with half of his routine from his third day off.

This will be the third consecutive year that Kershaw has made a playoff start on three days’ rest. In the previous two attempts, he did not allow an earned run in the first six innings.

In Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS against Atlanta, he allowed two runs — both unearned — on four baserunners in six innings, striking out six and ending up with a no decision in the game won by Juan Uribe’s eighth-inning home run. He threw a playoff career high 124 pitches in Game 1, and 91 in Game 4.

Last year, in NLDS Game 4 vs. St. Louis, Kershaw pitched six shutout innings before giving up two singles and a three-run homer to Matt Adams. He threw 110 pitches in Game 1 and 102 in Game 4.

“The last one I did good until the last inning,” Kershaw said. “Try not to do that again, I guess.”

In seven playoff starts since 2013, Kershaw has allowed 10 earned runs in his first six innings of work (2.25 ERA) and 12 earned runs in the seventh inning (46.35 ERA).

“I’ll never admit I’m tired,” Kershaw said. “You want to feel the same pitch 1 as you do pitch 140. You want to feel the same in April as you do in October. … When I’ve had successes or failures (in the postseason), I don’t think it’s from being tired. I think it’s from not making the pitches.”

Earlier today, Mets manager Terry Collins was asked if he would rather face Kershaw on short rest or Wood on full rest. Collins laughed.

“Believe me, this is no slap at Alex Wood,” Collins said. “He’s a fine pitcher, but I don’t want that other monster on the mound. I can tell you that. Again, no disrespect, because he’s a good pitcher, but that other guy is — I’ve been around him way too much. I know exactly what he can do.”


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  1. That Clayton, once again at the top of the regular season charts for innings pitched and so, typically, unable to find enough strength to get past the seventh in a playoff Game One, is even in the conversation for that start is one more example of the decent strategy/awful tactics of the Candy Store Kids this year.

    How many pitching transactions for this throw-it-against-the-wall gang?

    I repeat: possibly one of the worst bang-for-buck jobs the game has ever seen….

    From whiz kids to wiff kids.

  2. I disagree 100% !!!! Is it Kershaws fault when he pitches in the playoffs, the Dodger bats seem to freeze up!? What the heck!? Last year, he was taken out of the game because of errors, or misplayed balls behind him. On Friday, could our offense look any worse? Why is knowone ripping on Gonzales, for not hitting? Or, how about Carl Crawford? We can not win playoff games with just a few hits, and stranding guys out on the field! We need to start hitting. Everyone keeps ragging on Kershaw, but if we got some runs, and won for a change, when he is on the mound, I bet people still would not be happy! I for one think Kershaw is the best, and I hope he proves everyone wrong the next time he pitches!!!!
    GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO GET EM KERSHAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 100% agreed. And if he does struggle in the 7th, get him out of there before it too late, that’s been the issue the last 2 years, and that’s on Mattingly.

  3. I agree totally if Kershaw had offense behind him he would win his games.

  4. Your blue blood gettin’ the best of you, folks. They gave him 6 (count ’em) runs to work with in the first game against Cards last year. They gave him a 2-0 lead in the sixth of the second game; he gave it back an inning later. That’s not what you pay $300 million for.
    OTOH, you misread my attitude toward him. He has suffered from poor and unimaginative management, and his own immaturity. The two are linked.

    I do not, as so many fans have, conclude he’s a “loser” or “choke artist.”

    By October the last few years, he’s just a big, tired puppy….

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