The Los Angeles Dodgers have pushed Clayton Kershaw's next start back to Saturday in a precautionary move to give the ace left-hander a few extra days of rest, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Kershaw was originally slated to start Wednesday.
Kershaw, 25, hasn't shown any signs of slowing down on his warpath towards a second Cy Young award, but the Dodgers want to make sure he still has some gas in the tank when the postseason arrives.
In addition to leading the National League with a 1.93 earned-run average and 214 strikeouts, the southpaw is also ahead of the pack in number of starts (31) and innings pitched (223) this season. He's on track to pass his career-high in innings -- 233⅓ in 2011 -- with just two more starts, so a little extra rest is probably a wise move.
Right-hander Stephen Fife will start in Kershaw's regular slot on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. Fife has not made a start for the Dodgers since Aug. 4. He owns a solid 3.38 ERA in 56 innings on the year, but has surrendered seven runs over five frames in his last two outings.
The Dodgers have lost four in a row and five of their last six, but are still shoo-ins to win the division crown. Their magic number to seal the NL West title sits at four games. If they can win two of the three remaining games against the D-Backs this week, they will clinch the division.
Kershaw's Saturday start will come against the Padres at Petco Park.