NLDS: Starting Clayton Kershaw on Short Rest is a Terrible Idea
For Don Mattingly to risk bringing back Clayton Kershaw on short rest in game four of the NLDS makes perfect sense if the Los Angeles Dodgers are down two games to one in the series. The only problem is that they are not down in the series. It is not them that is down to their last chance to win, it is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are not starting their ace of the staff, they’re starting Freddy Garcia. The Dodgers should feel decent about getting some runs, at least a few, against the older starter. Why in the world would they start Kershaw in a game that is not an elimination game?
For a guy that has come back on short rest several times it might make a little bit of sense but Kershaw has not done this yet. Even if he does go out and pitch great in this game and they move on to the NLCS, how will it affect his arm to pitch on short rest? You know Kershaw is never going to turn the ball away. If Mattingly asked his opinion he would take the ball in back to back games or something. Mattingly is taking a risk that could pay off but at what price?
The problem isn’t that they will lose. Anytime Kershaw has the ball, they have about a 90 percent chance of winning Ricky Nolasco might not go out and have a great game if they start him but then again he might. Even if they lost this game they have Kershaw on good rest in game five. Why risk it? It makes no sense and it is a risk that could get the best pitcher in baseball hurt if he doesn’t react well to short rest. Hopefully he will change his mind before the game starts.