I’ll admit it, when I heard that Don Mattingly had decided to have Kershaw pitch game 4 on short rest, I was a little worried. It’s not normal for any starter to go on short rest, and even though it tends to happen in the post season, the results have been a mixed bag. My thought was, “why go all-in on Game 4 with a 2-1 lead?”. Sure, Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game, when he pitches on full rest. But what is he when he’s pitching on short rest?
I guess that’s one of the things a manager has to consider and one of the reasons a baseball manager is maybe a more important part of the postseason than coaches in other sports. Obviously, they all make decisions, but other sports don’t have to take chances with the amount of rest between starts. Personally, I was thinking in terms of pitching Ricky Nolasco, who isn’t Kershaw, but hasn’t been terrible in his time in LA. Then, if things don’t work out, you have the best pitcher in baseball for Game 5 in Atlanta. If you thrown Kershaw on short rest, and he’s not himself, now you’re looking at Game 5 in Atlanta with Nolasco or Greinke on short rest. I would not have felt too good about that.
Of course, Donnie baseball went all-in, pitched Kershaw in an attempt to close this out in LA and avoid the return trip to Atlanta, and wound up getting a good enough game from Kershaw, decent bullpen work from Howell, Wilson and Jansen, and some timely power to get the win.
I guess I’ll just shut up then, and look forward to the Cards or Pirates next!