SAN DIEGO -- The short-term plan for Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke has been laid out, as those two will open the National League Division Series in Games 1 and 2, respectively. But manager Don Mattingly isn't yet ready to reveal his plan for the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the rotation come October.
Kershaw will pitch Saturday against the Padres at Petco Park and Greinke will start the series finale on Sunday. Following Monday's off day, the final regular season starts for Kershaw and Greinke will be on Friday and Saturday, respectively, against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, each on five days rest. They will start Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS on Thursday, Oct. 3 and Friday, Oct. 4 on five days rest as well.
But after that, the race for No. 3 is between Hyun-jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco. Mattingly said the team was still having internal discussions about which pitcher will be the No. 3. It could also depend on the opponent in choosing between the left-handed Ryu or the right-handed Nolasco for Game 3.
By far the most likely scenario for the Dodgers will be to use four starters in the NLDS, though Mattingly didn't immediately rule out the possibility of starting Kershaw on short rest.
"It sets up for four unless you want to pitch somebody short," Mattingly said. "It's something we've mulled over."
The NLDS schedule allows for the Game 2 starter to pitch Game 5 on regular rest on Oct. 9, so in a scenario in which the Dodgers trailed two games to one, it's conceivable that Kershaw might be asked to pitch Game 4 on Oct. 7 on three days rest, with Greinke ready to follow on regular rest in the winner-take-all finale.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, Kershaw has never started a game on three days rest in his six-year career. But desperate times could call for desperate measures, and since Mattingly didn't completely dismiss the idea, it's something to keep in the back of our minds in October.