Kershaw pleaded with the Dodgers manager, general manager and pitching coach to grant him the start in Game 4 of the National League Division Series. But they couldn’t take him seriously.
“I said, ‘Hey look, I need you to take your competitiveness out of your answer,’” Colletti said. “’If you threw today and I said can you throw tomorrow, you’d say you can start tomorrow. So, you got to be true with us. You got to be honest about how you feel and where you’re at with this.’”
Whatever change Kershaw made to his tone, it worked. The four men walked out of the room having decided that the Game 1 winner would pitch on three days rest for the first time in his five-year career.
“He’s 25 years old and he was ultra convincing,” Colletti said. “You’re not going to take the ball away from somebody who wanted it that bad and who is as good as he is. If not him, who?”
Sunday night was just the culmination of a discussion Colletti said had been ongoing for weeks. Mattingly acknowledged taking Kershaw’s temperature before the end of the regular season about pitching on short rest.
After the Dodgers ace struck out 12 in a Game 1 NLDS victory, Kershaw was “barking right after the game that he was ready for Game 4,” according to Mattingly. Given that it had already been a topic of discussion for a while at that point, who could blame him.
“It’s something we talked about in stages and in steps over the course of two weeks and that’s how most of our stuff is,” Colletti said. “It evolves over time and you get the point where you have to make a decision on it. It’s something he said late last night. I said let’s have some more conversation and we did.”