Since becoming a full-time member of the rotation in 2009, Clayton Kershaw has appeared in relief only three times out of 25 career postseason games. He appears primed for another with the Los Angeles Dodgers facing the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
After his club lost Game 6 at Miller Park, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said all pitchers but Hyun-Jin Ryu (who started Friday) were available for the winner-take-all matchup. He then took matters a step further with regard to Kershaw hours before first pitch of Game 7.
“It’s hard to see a scenario that he’s not a part of this game,” Roberts said of his ace. “And what he could give us, he’s going to go out there and do his pregame and see how he feels. And so for he and I, it’s going to be a conversation and how he’s throwing the baseball.
“I don’t really have a number of pitches or innings. But I do see him being a part of this equation.”
Kershaw’s last relief appearance in the postseason came in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. He tossed four shutout innings against the Houston Astros but it proved futile as the Dodgers failed to mount a comeback after falling behind in the first inning.
Prior to that, Kershaw memorably recorded the final two outs to earn a save in Game 5 of the 2016 NL Division Series to eliminate the Washington Nationals and send the Dodgers to the NLCS for the first time since 2013.
The Dodgers would of course prefer to get a victory without needing to rely on their ace so that he could then start Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series. If Kershaw is needed against the Brewers, he would be pitching on two days’ rest.
In any event, Kershaw will begin the game in the bullpen with the rest of relievers, signaling he’ll essentially be available back of Walker Buehler from the get-go.
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