ST. LOUIS -- It didn’t take long for the Los Angeles Dodgers to grow tired of questions about their ace pitching on short rest.
Clayton Kershaw did it for the first time in his career Monday and pitched six strong innings to set up the Dodgers’ Game 4 win over the Atlanta Braves, but neither he nor manager Don Mattingly was interested in discussing it much before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series in St. Louis. It’s less likely to happen this series, because Kershaw is pitching Game 2 and, if necessary, 6.
Some people feel that the fatigue of pitching on short rest tends to show up later in a season or postseason.
“It doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t pitch well, it’s like, ‘Oh, he came off three days’ rest.’ It’s just silly,” Mattingly told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “He’s on regular rest, he feels fine, everything’s fine. I’m not worried about it. If I don’t worry about Kersh on short rest, you really think I’m going to worry about him on regular rest?”
The first two questions in Kershaw’s pregame interview centered around how he felt after working on short rest. He answered them with a total of five words. He felt no different and he didn’t alter his routine going into Saturday’s start.
He later elaborated on his feelings about it. He also said he’d be willing to pitch in whatever role Mattingly assigns him, perhaps even in relief later in the series since the Dodgers kept just two lefty relievers on their NLCS roster.
“You guys made a big deal out of three days’ rest,” Kershaw said. “I never made a big deal out of it. Donnie never made a big deal out of it.”