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Dave Roberts won’t start Clayton Kershaw on short rest in Game 4

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When Saturday rolls around, it won’t matter if the Dodgers are on the brink of clinching a championship or need their best starter to fend off a sweep: Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts won’t start Clayton Kershaw on short rest in Game 4. It’s a strategy that has worked well for the team and its ace so far this postseason. Kershaw hasn’t needed to take the mound on short rest or been forced to pitch out of the bullpen, as was so often the case during his last several trips through the playoffs.

The result? A 2-0 record and 3.63 ERA in three starts, including six innings of three-hit, five-strikeout ball in Game 5 of the NLCS. Granted, his lone quality start coincided with an explosive performance from the offense as they locked down the pennant with an 11-1 win over the Cubs. The southpaw has also been backed by an airtight bullpen — through 28 2/3 postseason innings, they’ve given up a collective three earned runs and haven’t allowed so much as an extra base hit since Albert Almora Jr. pinch-hit a ground-rule double into the ivy during Game 3 of the Championship Series.

All the parts appear to be working smoothly for the Dodgers, and Roberts doesn’t seem likely to tamper with a tried-and-true formula just yet. That’s not to say he won’t go back on his word — or, like A.J. Hinch did with Justin Verlander and his cadre of pitchers prior to Game 7 of the ALCS, call for an “all hands on deck” approach if the Dodgers’ position starts to look precarious. But for now, it’s easy to believe him. Kershaw has proven more than capable of reversing his postseason blues this October, and should the Dodgers continue to dominate on the road (as they’ll need to do for a sweep), this may all be a moot point come Saturday.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.