After Clayton Kershaw labored through five innings against the Miami Marlins on September 5, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his next start would come on extra rest.
Kershaw was originally due to pitch in the San Diego Padres but got bumped to the series opener against the Seattle Mariners instead. The Dodgers changed his schedule for a second time, and the left-hander took the mound in the middle game of the series at T-Mobile Park.
Although Kershaw has pitched through a left shoulder injury, Roberts said the 10 days of rest had more to do with the Dodgers lining up their starting rotation over the remaining weeks of the regular season. With that, Kershaw has exclusively started on Saturdays since his September 16 outing against the Mariners.
“Yeah I’m on the college schedule,” Kershaw quipped last weekend. “I’m the Saturday starter. You know we’re doing everything for a reason around here. So take the extra rest when you can get it, try to get right for the playoffs and all that stuff.
“So it’s a different routine, obviously, you get two extra days in there. But for where I’m at right now, it makes sense and I’m taking advantage of it.”
Kershaw’s start on Saturday is going to mark a second consecutive game facing the San Francisco Giants. He held them to just two hits and two walks over five scoreless innings last week.
“I think it’s trending in the right direction,” Kershaw said after the outing at Dodger Stadium. “I feel like there’s some positives each start that I feel like I’m getting better from that Miami start. Not where I want it to be all the way yet.
“But overall, it’s definitely some steps in the right direction, for sure.”
Kershaw notoriously is routine-oriented and the extra rest between starts has required some adjustment that he is looking to find a silver lining with.
“I think it gives you a chance to maybe go a little bit harder in the bullpen to execute pitches, try to work on things,” the 35-year-old explained. “Maybe try to work out, do some different things that maybe make you a little bit more sore in between because you have the extra time.
“So I’m trying to take advantage of it as best I can.”
When is Clayton Kershaw’s NLDS start?
Roberts has only confirmed Kershaw and Bobby Miller will start the first two games of the National League Division Series in some order.
If the Dodgers keep Kershaw on his Saturday schedule, that aligns with Game 1 of the NLDS on October 7. Because of an extra off day in the 2023 NLDS, Kershaw conceivably could then be available for a potential Game 5 on regular rest.
Roberts said Saturday that Kershaw was the likely starter for the Dodgers’ first postseason game.
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