The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't messing around. With the chance to clinch their NLDS series against the Atlanta Braves on Monday night, the Dodgers have announced that ace Clayton Kershaw will be their Game 4 pitcher instead of scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco.
Kershaw dominated the Braves in Game 1, striking out 12 batters and surrendering just one run on three hits in seven innings. After Sunday night's 13-6 win, the Dodgers have the Braves on the ropes — especially with Freddy Garcia, a 37-year-old with a 4.37 ERA this season, pitching Monday for the Braves.
Bringing back Kershaw on three-days' rest is the Dodgers winding up for a knockout blow. It will, however, be the first time Kershaw has pitched on that short of rest. Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown explains some of the thinking behind the move:
So, Kershaw has never started on 3 days' rest. But, after 6 innings from bullpen last night, there'd be less of safety net for Nolasco.
— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) October 7, 2013
Another reason to go Kershaw tonight: Greinke on regular rest in Game 5, if necessary. — Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) October 7, 2013
You probably don't need us to remind you how great Kershaw has been this season. He's a favorite to win the NL Cy Young, finishing the season with a 1.83 ERA and a 16-9 record. The Braves probably don't need to be reminded of that either.