Dodgers’ NLCS rotation: Greinke in Game 1, Kershaw in Game 2

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Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced that Zack Greinke will start Game 1 of the NLCS against the Cardinals and Clayton Kershaw will take the mound in Game 2 after starting on short rest for the first time in his career to finish off the NLDS.

That gives Kershaw enough time to make his start on full rest Saturday and obviously having Greinke as your series-opening alternative isn’t exactly a bad spot to be in anyway. Greinke went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 28 starts during the regular season and tossed six innings of two-run ball versus the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS.

It sounds like Mattingly will stick with Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3 despite an awful start Sunday against Atlanta that had people wondering if the rookie left-hander was healthy. Game 3 of the NLCS isn’t until Monday, giving Ryu a week off to rest up.

And then in Game 4 the Dodgers will get to decide whether or not to bump Ricky Nolasco again.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.