Clayton Kershaw's Big Test

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

I get e-mail messages from baseball teams' media-relations departments. This might be the most interesting one of those that I've ever gotten:

Hi all,

Dodger left-hander Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will start tonight’s game.

Thanks

No, thank you for the interesting news item!

Essentially, this comes down to a fundamental question:

Kershaw on short rest + Greinke

vs.

Nolasco + Kershaw

We know that pitchers have generally not fared well on short rest over the last decade or two. Every time a manager does this, the numbers get trotted out and they're not encouraging. Today on the MLB Network, Jim Kaat said about four days of rest, "There's much too much made out of that ... I like the move. I wish more managers would do it."

More managers would do it if the numbers were on their side.

This seems like an overreaction to Nolasco's sub-par September that really wasn't so sub-par at all. Yes, Nolasco's ERA last month was 6.66. But he gave up just one home run in 26 innings, while striking out 24 batters and walking six. So where's the problem? He did give up 11 doubles and two triples, which makes me wonder if anybody's done good work with extra-base hits and DIPS theory. That's a lot of doubles.

This will probably work out just fine. Clayton Kershaw, even at less than full strength, is probably good enough to beat Freddy Garcia. And starting Kershaw here means he can work earlier in the next series. And in the next, if that's a thing.

I probably wouldn't do it, though, unless I had good reason to believe there's something wrong with Nolasco. Because he was really good this season. And I suspect he's still good enough to beat Freddy Garcia.

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