Don Mattingly, Ned Colletti, Rick Honeycutt and Clayton Kershaw were the last ones in the room late Sunday night at Dodger Stadium.
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?”
Whether or not the Dodgers are facing elimination in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, manager Don Mattingly certainly didn’t slam the door on the possibility of pitching Game 1 winner Clayton Kershaw on short rest in place of scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco.
“Right now Ricky’s the pitcher in Game 4,” Mattingly said. “That’s what we’ve decided.”
Kershaw has never started on less than four days rest in his five-year career and Nolasco hasn’t been informed of any potential change of the plan for him to start his first ever postseason game on Monday. Given that he won eight of his first nine decisions after being traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers, but has posted a 12.75 earned-run average in his last three starts, Nolasco said he wouldn’t object to a change.
“This isn’t about me. It’s about the team,” Nolsaco said. “Whatever decision they make, it’s going to be the best decision for the team. They’re the ones getting paid to make those decisions. I’ll be here ready to take the ball whenever they ask me to pitch.”
Chris Capuano may have hope to make the Dodgers’ playoff roster after all. The team’s fifth starting pitcher, who suffered a mild groin strain Sept. 6, will likely receive an audition for a postseason role in the bullpen.
If Capuano (4-7, 4.34 ERA) doesn’t suffer any setbacks during a bullpen session today, he’ll be pitching in some capacity soon afterward.
“We want to see what he looks like in the bullpen but there’s still a possibility of him starting for us again moving forward,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “(Capuano has) pitched out of the pen before, so obviously if you get (to the postseason) you don’t use five starters. We do have to see if there’s going to be a value there.”
Take your pick of numbers spiking throughout the Dodgers’ organization this season: TV ratings are up 42 percent from last year, the payroll is a record $220 million and merchandise sales are up 50 percent from a season ago.
Attendance totals appear headed for the largest turnout for any major league team since the New York Yankees drew 3.77 million fans during the 2010 season – but Dodgers fans will pay a price for it.
Among the rising numbers next season will be ticket prices.
Included in the Dodgers’ announcement Thursday that 2014 season tickets went on sale was the fact that front-row seats between the bases will increase by $30 per game while rows two through eight will increase by $20.