Clayton Kershaw has had some time to rest ahead of Saturday’s Game 1 NLCS matchup against the Cubs.
The Dodgers quickly swept the Diamondbacks in the NLDS, while Chicago just finished off a thrilling Game 5 win over the Nationals on Thursday. Despite the extra rest, Kershaw doesn’t believe the Dodgers enter the series with any sort of advantage.
“I don’t know how you do that in baseball,” Kershaw said Friday, regarding the possibility of taking advantage of fatigue. “In football, you can run faster, you can do plays faster. Basketball you can run up and down the court. I don’t know what you do in baseball. Try to play faster? I don’t know what you do.
“I think they have a very tough ball club. They grind out games. They grind out at-bats. They’ve got a lot of good pitchers over there. So fatigue or not, I think they’ll be all right.
Kershaw allowed four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in his lone start against the Diamondbacks. He is now 5-7 with a 4.63 ERA throughout his postseason career. But Kershaw thinks a change of pace entering the NLCS may help bring different results.
“It’s a different position for us. We haven’t really — in years past, it’s been Game 5s and a lot of travel and not having home field. So it’s definitely a different spot for us,” Kershaw said after watching the Cubs close out their series. “It was kind of fun watching them duke it out while we were kind of sitting around. It was great.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. The Cubs are here now, and I’m sure — I know they had some travel stuff. That was rough. But I have a feeling they’re going to be ready to go.
“As far as being overworked, underworked, I don’t think anybody’s at a perfect spot during the postseason, so I’ll be ready to go (Saturday).”
Kershaw and the Dodgers lost to the Cubs in last year’s NLCS, but he would have been just as happy beating the Nationals this year.
“I think we want to win this series,” Kershaw said. “We want to go to the World Series. We didn’t get to do that last year, and the Cubs were the reason why. No doubt about it, we know that. But if the Nationals won this, I’d be saying the same thing. I don’t hold grudges, it’s not billboard material for me or bulletin board material that we’ve got to get revenge on the Cubs.
“But they were the best team last year, and until somebody beats them, they’re the best team. So we’ve got to go get them.”