Chase Utley and his seventh inning slide in Game 2 have dominated the headlines since Saturday for the NLDS matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets; however, that will all change on Tuesday.
Clayton Kershaw, the reigning NL MVP and Cy Young, will be on the mound on short rest looking to keep the Dodgers season alive for the second year in a row. It will be his third NLDS Game 4 start on three days rest in a row as well. Kershaw will be judged by this start because of his 0-5 record in his last five postseason starts, giving him a reputation for ‘choking’ even though he’s thrown a quality start in three of those five starts.
Before Game 3 on Monday, a loss for the Dodgers, the left-hander talked about pitching on short rest and how his body reacts via MLB.com:
The adrenaline takes over. You don’t really feel tired or anything like that. It’s the playoffs. Your routine is changed a little bit, but as far as being prepared, I’ll be fine [Tuesday].”
Kershaw has thrown 12 innings on short rest in the playoffs, allowing five runs (three earned) and striking out 15 batters. He threw six scoreless last season against the St. Louis Cardinals before some tough breaks and a curveball to Matt Adams turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit.
Despite that, the Dodgers are turning to their ace once again and he takes pride in it:
I appreciate the confidence that Donnie has in me to do it. That’s a good feeling to know your manager wants you out there. Makes you want to prove him right.”
If Kershaw can hold the Mets and the Dodgers offense can get some runs, the series will go back to Dodger Stadium and Zack Greinke will be on the mound in a deciding game.