Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Likely Starting Game 1 Of NLDS

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The second half of the 2023 season has been somewhat of a struggle for Clayton Kershaw, but he’s still managed to perform at a relatively high level nevertheless.

Kershaw has pitched through an unspecified left shoulder injury that has decreased his fastball velocity and affected command. Amid that challenge, he has posted a 2.33 ERA in his eight starts since coming off the 15-day injured list.

The Dodgers would not commit to Kershaw starting in the postseason until recently when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said it was likely he would pitch in one of the first two National League Division Series games.

Now, Roberts indicated the Dodgers have decided on Kershaw starting their postseason opener, per Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“It’s pretty academic,” Roberts said. “I expect him to come out of this feeling well, given his demeanor and how he felt after the game. And if that’s the case, then it seems like pretty much a no-brainer.”

The Dodgers’ NLDS series opens on Saturday, Oct. 7, which aligns Kershaw up to continue his “college schedule.” Kershaw has exclusively started on Saturdays since his September 16 outing against the Seattle Mariners, giving him six days rest between each start.

NLDS Game 5 also takes place on a Saturday, which means Kershaw could be set up to start twice depending on how the Dodgers align the rest of their rotation. That would likely depend on if they decide to go with four starters or stick with just the three that would be needed to get everyone on normal rest.

Overall this season, Kershaw has a 2.46 ERA across 131.2 innings with 137 strikeouts and a 1.06 WHIP. In his final tuneup start of the season, he pitched into the sixth inning on Saturday for the first time since coming off the IL, giving up two runs on five hits with five hits allowed and two walks.

Bobby Miller pitching Game 2 after Clayton Kershaw

Roberts previously said Bobby Miller would start one of the Dodgers’ first two playoff games, so with this latest news that sets him up for Game 2.

Miller has had some inconsistent results, but he’s turned in some impressive outings after being rushed to the Major League level and that has caught the eye of the organization. His electric stuff and fiery competitiveness should also help him in the playoffs.

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