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):
Kershaw told Mattingly "All the work I do is for a game like this"— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 7, 2013
Mattingly: After Game1 Kershaw was "barking that he wanted Game 4"— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 7, 2013
Mattingly: If you're behind 2-1 it's easy to make this decision. Having second ace in Greinke "no question" makes this possible.— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 7, 2013
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:
One more: P-S starters on 3 days rest since ’95, including starts of 3 or fewer from end of RS: 4.76 ERA, 768 OPS, 97 starts. Per @STATS_MLB— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 7, 2013
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.
Good move for the Dodgers?
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.