This will be the third straight season Kershaw has started in Game 4 of the NLDS. He did so with the team up two games to one against Atlanta in 2013, then did so down 2-1 in St. Louis in 2014. Kershaw allowed two unearned runs in six innings in a no-decision in 2013, a game the Dodgers eventually won, then in 2014 struck out nine in six scoreless innings in St. Louis before allowing two infield singles then a three-run home run to Matt Adams, turning a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 loss.
Those are the only two starts on short rest in Kershaw's career, and he has combined for a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings with 15 strikeouts and three walks.
Kershaw took the loss in Game 1 of this year's NLDS despite striking out 11 in 6⅔ innings on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. He left with a 1-0 deficit but walked the bases loaded. Two of those runs were cashed in against his ledger on a two-run single by Daviid Wright off Pedro Baez to give New York a three-run advantage in a game they would win 3-1.
"I appreciate the confidence that Donnie has, the confidence in me to do it," Kershaw said. "It's a good feeling to know your manager wants you out there makes you want to prove him right, for sure."
A big factor in starting Kershaw in Game 1 of the series was because he was more likely than Zack Greinke to start on three days rest in Game 4.
"We didn't really feel like we could make a bad choice with that, but as you start thinking about moving forward, it leaves options option for us in later games," Mattingly said on Wednesday.
In addition, Greinke was more apprehensive about starting on three days rest, though in his only career outing in doing so he allowed two runs on six innings on the final day of the 2011 season for Milwaukee.
"I'll pitch on short rest. I just haven't done it good in my career," Greinke said Friday. "So I think that's kind of why it has been like that in the past is just I haven't done good doing that in the past, and Kershaw is more confident than me doing it."
The extra off day in the NLDS on Wednesday also allows Greinke to come back on regular rest for Game 5 if needed, so it's hard to pass up the lure of having Kershaw and Greinke start four of the five games of the series.