Clayton Kershaw Named Game 4 Starter for Los Angeles Dodgers

Alex EspinozaCorrespondent IIIOctober 7, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 03:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Atlanta Braves during Game One of the National League Division Series at Turner Field on October 3, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves better be ready for a double dose of Clayton Kershaw.

Hours before the Los Angeles Dodgers host Atlanta in Game 4 of the NLDS, the team's Twitter account announced that Kershaw will be making the start on three-days' rest:

The announcement from manager Don Mattingly is somewhat surprising, as Ricky Nolasco was scheduled to take the mound. But the Dodgers apparently have no interest in risking a trip back to Atlanta for Game 5 after taking a 2-1 series lead with a 13-6 win in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Mattingly spoke about the decision with the media prior to tonight's game (via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register):

It will mark the first time in Kershaw's career that he's made a start on three-days' rest. He pitched on three-days' rest in 2008 as a rookie, but it came in a one-inning relief appearance during the final game of the regular season.  

Ken Rosenthal has the statistical breakdown of starters in Kershaw's situation:

Kershaw showed why he's the overwhelming favorite to win the 2013 National League Cy Young award in Game 1, tossing seven innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out 12.

If those numbers aren't enough for you, just check out his stuff:

It will be interesting to see if Mattingly keeps Kershaw on a restricted pitch count, as he threw 124 pitches in Game 1, marking the third-highest total of any game in his career.

In the regular season, the 25-year-old southpaw went 16-9 with a National League-best 232 strikeouts while posting a ridiculous 1.83 ERA, marking the third-straight season he's led the NL in that statistical category. 

It's a bit of a risky move, but there's no question that Kershaw is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball right now. Los Angeles will look to ride that momentum into the NLCS.