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Clayton Kershaw to start NLDS Game 1 for Dodgers, with Game 4 TBA

Zack Greinke will start Game 2, and Brett Anderson in Game 3 for the Dodgers.

"Whoever raises their hand higher starts Friday."
"Whoever raises their hand higher starts Friday."
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The worst-kept secret in the Dodgers clubhouse was finally made official on Tuesday, with Clayton Kershaw getting the nod to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Mets on Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Zack Greinke will follow with a start in Game 2 on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. The duo combined for a 1.90 ERA in 455⅓ innings this season, including a 1.57 ERA in 235⅔ innings at home.

"These guys are as solid as they come. To say one should start over the other I think is very difficult to say. It would be about the same as having to say which one is the Cy Young winner if you had to choose between the two," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "They have both been excellent, have great abilities and have shown great stuff.

"Whatever the factors may be, we're lucky to have two choices."

Kershaw threw only 60 pitches in a planned shortened start on Sunday, striking out seven in 3⅔ innings. On Friday, Kershaw will be pitching on exactly four days rest. In 18 starts on four days rest in 2015, Kershaw was 10-5 with a 1.80 ERA, with 181 strikeouts and 18 walks in 129⅔ innings.

Brett Anderson, who threw approximately 56 pitches in three simulated innings at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, will start Game 3 for the Dodgers on Monday at Citi Field in New York, with the Game 4 starter for the Dodgers still to be announced.

Given the day off between Game 4 and Game 5, the Dodgers could conceivably use Kershaw on short rest in Game 4, something they have done in each of the last two NLDS, with Greinke available on regular rest in Game 5 if needed.

"It's a complicated decision," general manager Farhan Zaidi said of pitching on three days rest. "Part of what complicates it is usually not going off a great sample of guys doing it. It's becoming a less frequent thing. There is no easy way to evaluate it, and you have to go case by case. A lot of times you have to see how the series evolves before making any decisions."

Zaidi acknowledged that Kershaw's history of pitching on three days rest — allowing a total of five runs, three earned, on just seven hits in 12 innings, with 15 strikeouts and three walks allowed — is a point in favor of doing so again.

"It at least presents the option," Zaidi said.