Jake Westbrook “ready to go” in case Cardinals need him

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Jake Westbrook was left off the Cardinals’ playoff roster for the NLDS and NLCS, but the veteran right-hander is continuing to throw on the side in case he’s needed as an injury replacement.

Westbrook threw a 49-pitch simulated game yesterday, telling reporters afterward: “I’m ready to go, without a doubt. I feel strong in saying that, especially the way today went.”

Westbrook logged 175 innings with a 3.97 ERA during the regular season and worse pitchers have started games in this year’s playoffs, but he hasn’t seen game action since suffering a strained oblique muscle on September 8.

When the Cardinals needed an injury replacement for Jaime Garcia they chose rookie Shelby Miller, but Westbrook is in the mix in case St. Louis advances past San Francisco and wants to adjust the roster for the World Series.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.