For the third straight year, Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound for Game 4 of the NLDS after pitching in Game 1.
Kershaw threw six innings and allowed two runs (zero earned) against the Atlanta Braves in 2013 and the Los Angeles Dodgers won the series thanks to a Juan Uribe home run. Last season, Kershaw was cruising through six innings against the St. Louis Cardinals before allowing a three-run home run in the seventh in an eventual 3-2 loss.
Before Game 3 on Monday, which became a 13-7 loss for the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly announced that the reigning NL MVP will once again be on the mound on short rest for Game 4 via Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com:
He’s pretty good,” Mattingly said. “I mean, we just feel like he’s that guy, no matter if we’re down 2-1 or up 2-1, we feel like he’s the right guy.”
Well, the Dodgers are down 2-1 and one loss will eliminate them in the NLDS for the second straight year. If Kershaw can pitch well and the Dodgers win, they will head back to Dodger Stadium with Zack Greinke on the mound for a winner-take-all Game 5.
Mattingly discussed the confidence he has in throwing his ace on short rest via MLB.com:
He’s been pretty good with three days rest. Atlanta game he was good two years ago. We make an error and get some unearned runs. St. Louis game he’s scoreless through six and we should have had the first two outs of that inning in the seventh. We don’t get either one of them and then he hangs a breaking ball to [Matt] Adams.
Even though he’s pitched well in those games, Kershaw has still built a reputation for struggling in the postseason. He’s 1-6 with a 4.99 ERA in the playoffs and has lost his last five starts, including Game 1 against the Mets.
Despite this, Mattingly knows his ace has the ability to get his team to a Game 5:
His stuff has been fine. I feel good with him. His stuff is always good. I’m always pretty confident when he’s pitching.
The Dodgers will be facing left-handed rookie Steven Matz at Citi Field on Tuesday night looking to save their season.