2020 NLCS: Dodgers Starting Clayton Kershaw In Game 4

The Los Angeles Dodgers have gone into each series this postseason with clearly defined starters Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw backed by depth and versatility behind them in the rotation.

Buehler started Game 1 in each the Wild Card Series, National League Division Series and NL Championship Series. Kershaw did so in Game 2 through the first two rounds, but back spasms forced him to be scratched from facing the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained the back trouble surfaced after a bullpen session over the weekend and although Kershaw had improved with each passing day, it wasn’t to the point where the team felt comfortable sending him to the mound for the outing.

Prior to Game 2, Kershaw did his usual dry work, played long toss and threw what Roberts deemed a “pretty aggressive” bullpen session that “went well.”

Now after a delay, Kershaw is officially slated to take the ball in Game 4, with an opportunity to pitch the Dodgers to an NLCS tie. Roberts had suggested a start Thursday was likely, but when asked prior to Game 3 if the team had made a decision, he said it was contingent on how Kershaw felt the morning of.

“I can’t just sit here right now and say he’s going to start,” Roberts cautioned. “But if it progresses the way it has, it’s a likely possibility. Again, this is making sure Clayton feels good when he wakes up and training staff gives us the blessing as well.”

Roberts then made an official announcement after the Dodgers’ record-setting win over the Braves. Although Kershaw is coming off a back ailment, there will not be any restrictions on the outing.

“My expectation is he’s going to go out there, make a start and help us win a baseball game,” Roberts said.

Dodgers pitching still unsettled

With their win on Wednesday, the Dodgers guaranteed the NLCS will extend to at least a Game 5 on Friday. The team did not announce a full rotation for the entire series when naming Buehler and Kershaw starters for Games 1 and 2, and still aren’t certain what’s ahead.

When asked if Dustin May was lined up to start Game 5, or Buehler if the Dodgers can guarantee a Game 6, Roberts answered, “Right now we’re just focused on Clayton making a start. We’ll pick up the pieces [Thursday] and see where Walker and Dustin are at.”

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