Stunner: Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Game 1, the Dodgers announce. Clayton Kershaw wills tart Game 2.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) October 3, 2018
Even though Kershaw will pitch in Game 2 on Friday, the move comes as a surprise. The 30-year-old Kershaw had been a lock to start the first game of the postseason for the Dodgers for quite some time now.
This is the first time Clayton Kershaw won't start the Dodgers' first game of the playoffs since 2009, when he was 21. Randy Wolf started that year. The Dodgers won the game.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) October 3, 2018
This isn’t an issue where Kershaw would be fatigued either. Had he started Game 1, Kershaw would have taken the mound on normal rest.
While it’s tough to imagine the Dodgers taking the mound without Kershaw in Game 1, Ryu has performed well in 2018. Over 82 1/3 innings, Ryu has a 1.97 ERA. Kershaw has a 2.73 ERA over 161 1/3 innings. Not only that, but Ryu actually has a higher strikeout rate this season.
Starting Ryu goes against conventional thought, but it could pay off in the long run. If the NLDS happens to go to a Game 5, Kershaw would be in line to take the mound on normal rest.
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Fitz’s jersey put in Hall of Fame at most ironic time
• Fan hit at Ryder Cup said to have lost sight in right eye
• Kanye’s new sneakers may be banned by NBA
• MLB postseason predictions: Experts pick wild-card winners