It’s hard to argue against Clayton Kershaw being the best pitcher in baseball. His command is nearly perfect, his pitch arsenal is filthy, and he has the stuff almost any other pitcher could only dream to have.
Kershaw pitched game one of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. He fanned 12 batters and allowed just one earned run and three hits in seven outstanding innings. He was originally scheduled to start game five on Wednesday, but plans have changed.
In spite of Kershaw throwing 124 pitches in the seven innings against the Braves, manager Don Mattingly has decided to put in Kershaw on short rest. The Braves are hoping that the short rest will prevent Kershaw from being, well, Kershaw.
The Dodgers hold a 2-1 lead in the NLDS, meaning the Braves have to win the next two in order to move on to the NLCS to face either the Cardinals or Pirates. The Braves had a better overall record and better record in September, so it is far from outside the realm of possibility.
Atlanta will be putting up pitcher Freddy Garcia, who is 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA in three starts since joining Atlanta late in the season.