Clayton Kershaw is one happy guy right now.
Not only did the Dodgers tie the series up one game apiece thanks to a late home run by Matt Kemp, but on Monday afternoon, Don Mattingly announced the Kershaw will get the ball in Game 4 on Tuesday, no matter Monday's outcome.
All of those bad memories he could have potentially carried over into the offseason? They could be erased, as he gets another chance to right a wrong.
Last season the same situation came up, as Kershaw made a start in Game 4 on three days' rest against the Braves, tossing six innings, and giving up two unearned runs while striking out six. That game was best remembered for Juan Uribe's dramatic go-ahead homer in the eighth, clinching the series.
The obvious difference between then and now is then, Kershaw was coming off a great Game 1 start in which he gave up one run in seven innings, striking out 12. The decision to have him pitch was made nearly last minute, as a fading Ricky Nolasco got the boot (and rightfully so).
Now, Kershaw has a lot to prove after getting crushed in Game 1, blowing a 6-1 lead in the seventh inning. I'd say he's looking to bounce back from giving up eight earned runs.
You know he'll be ready to pitch. He's always ready to pitch. Now he just needs to take it an inning at a time, focus on his spots, and there's no reason why he can't get a big win.
This move makes sense for a couple other reasons as well. Dan Haren, the original Game 4 starter, is now available to relieve Hyun-Jin Ryu tonight if necessary. Considering Ryu hasn't pitched since September 12, he might be needed.
Also, pushing Kershaw up a game leaves a potential do-or-die Game 5 back in LA to Zack Greinke, who was fantastic in Game 2. That's a good thing.