Dodgers want Clayton Kershaw to go 'as hard as he can for as long as he can'

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Sunday, October 21, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is "very willing" to turn to Clayton Kershaw in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday.

"It's hard to see a scenario that he's not part of this game," Roberts said a little more than two hours before the 8:09 p.m. ET first pitch.

Walker Buehler, a 24-year-old rookie, started opposite Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, but given the stakes, both teams might turn to their reinforcements early.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell said his bullpen is "set up as well as we could have hoped, I think, going into the seventh game of a series."

The biggest reason is they didn't have to use Josh Hader, their devastating left-handed reliever, during Friday's 7-2 win in Game 6.

Hader is on three days' rest and could probably provide up to three innings, while Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has had the past two days off and can contribute more than three outs.

Kershaw looms as the wild card. The Dodgers' ace threw 98 pitches while twirling seven innings of one-run ball in Wednesday's Game 5, but he will nonetheless begin the game in the bullpen. Kershaw pitched four scoreless innings in Game 7 of last year's World Series -- an eventual loss -- only three days after throwing 94 pitches in a Game 5 start.

Roberts said it's "hard to" determine how much Kershaw can provide for this Game 7. Roberts said Kershaw would go through his normal pre-start routine and then chat with Roberts about how he feels.

The Dodgers, Roberts said, want Kershaw to go "as hard as he can for as long as he can," but they have yet to determine what that might look like.

"It's a nine-inning season today," Counsell said. "And that's how you treat it."

Below are the starting lineups for Game 7.


1. Joc Pederson (L) LF

2. Max Muncy (L) 1B

3. Justin Turner (R) 3B

4. Manny Machado (R) SS

5. Cody Bellinger (L) CF

6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF

7. Chris Taylor (R) 2B

8. Austin Barnes (R) C

9. Walker Buehler(R) P


1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF

2. Christian Yelich (L) RF

3. Ryan Braun (R) LF

4. Travis Shaw (L) 2B

5. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B

6. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B

7. Erik Kratz (R) C

8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS

9. Jhoulys Chacin(R) P