Dusty Baker believes Clayton Kershaw doesn’t always come set when he pitches. (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nationals manager Dusty Baker offered a semi-hot take, without prompt, during his pregame press conference Friday: Clayton Kershaw ought to be penalized with more balks.
Asked to recall the first time he saw Kershaw, who will start Game 1 of the National League Division Series today for the Dodgers, Baker confessed that he couldn’t recall their initial encounter. Baker rattled off a few superlatives, then mentioned Kershaw’s charity work in Africa as an endorsement of his character.
Then he got to the balks.
“I know he’s tough to hit and he’s tough to run on,” Baker said of Kershaw. “Quite frankly I’m hoping we get some baserunners and the umpires might call a balk or two on him because he kind of rolls through the set position — which they don’t call — but I heard that really upsets him if they do call one. So I’m hoping they call maybe a couple of them.”
Here’s one of the three balks Kershaw committed this season, from a June game between the Dodgers and Braves:
Austin Barnes is appears much smaller than his teammates, who are standing on the pitchers’ mound during a workout at Dodger Stadium on Monday. The Dodgers held a workout at Dodger Stadium in preparation for their National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, which begins Friday in Washington, D.C. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed the team’s roster for the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, which begins Friday. Our first and second guesses were both wrong.
Clayton Kershaw will start Game 1 of the Dodgers’ National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals on Oct. 7. Rich Hill will pitch Game 2 on Oct. 7 followed by Kenta Maeda in Game 3 on Oct. 10.
The Nationals have yet to announce their rotation, only that they’re unlikely to have right-hander Stephen Strasburg available for the first round.
The location of each game is still to be determined. The Nationals began the day with a one-game lead in the battle for homefield advantage. Each team has six games left to play in the regular season.
Kershaw has started Game 1 of every playoff series the Dodgers have participated in since the 2009 National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the starting assignment for a possible Game 4 is to be determined, with Julio Urias one of many possible candidates.
Update (6:20 p.m.): Roberts said that Kershaw, Hill and Maeda will start Games 1, 2 and 3 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals in that order. The starting assignment for Game 4 is to be determined. Maeda wanted two starts before the regular season ends, not one, which is why he’s starting tonight and not tomorrow.
Roberts discussed his season-ending rotation Tuesday afternoon: