The Dodgers announced on Tuesday that Clayton Kershaw's next start will be pushed back until Saturday. The ace of the pitching staff was scheduled to go on Wednesday in Arizona, but will receive three days of extra rest as a precaution.
No need to panic -- Kershaw is healthy. This is not like when the Dodgers give "precautionary" rest to Hanley Ramirez or Carl Crawford. He is just 10 innings from reaching his career high in innings pitched, and leads all of baseball in the category.
Kershaw has not been bringing lights-out performances in his past few outing, but Don Mattingly did say his seven-inning, three-run loss to the Giants on Friday was "the best he's thrown the ball in probably three to four outings." Hopefully with the extended rest he can use his final two starts to prepare for his first playoff game since 2009.
While rest is a major factor in this decision, it will also reset the starting rotation. It puts Kershaw at the top, followed by Zack Greinke for a terrific one-two punch to kick off the playoffs.
The third spot of the rotation appears to be a toss-up between Ricky Nolasco and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Mattingly will not commit to either one as their number three starter, but it appears that it will depend on the opponent and if their lineup is left-handed or right-handed heavy.
Stephen Fife will be starting in Kershaw's place on Wednesday. Fife has struggled since returning from the minors at the start of September. He has made two appearances out of the bullpen combining for five innings with six hits, three walks and seven earned runs.
The Dodgers are using Fife merely as filler in the rotation, and will not be expecting much. He will be pitching in, what could be, the Dodgers NL West clinching game, but there should not be much added pressure considering their 10.5 game lead.