Clayton Kershaw’s next Dodgers playoff start still up in the air

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw walks onto the field at Busch Stadium before practice Sunday.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

Clayton Kershaw didn’t set foot on a mound at the Dodgers’ voluntary workout Sunday at Busch Stadium, choosing to play catch with Dan Haren on flat ground instead of throwing a bullpen session.

Considering Kershaw typically throws off a mound three days before starts, that might or might not mean anything about the possibility of him starting for the Dodgers on Tuesday in Game 4 of their National League division series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Manager Don Mattingly said Haren is scheduled to start in Game 4, but said the plans could change.

Part of the reason for that is because Haren might have to be used as a long reliever Monday in Game 3 if starter Hyun-Jin Ryu is forced to make an early departure. Ryu hasn’t started a game in more than three weeks because of an irritated shoulder.

“We have to be prepared for that,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly was evasive about the status of Kershaw, who gave up eight runs in a Game 1 defeat.

Is the current plan to start Kershaw in Game 5?

“We’ve got to make that decision based on what goes on,” Mattingly said.


Would Kershaw pitch in Game 4 only if Haren had to be used in Game 3?

“I didn’t say that,” Mattingly said.

Could the Dodgers winning or losing Game 3 determine when Kershaw pitches next?

“Win-loss won’t have anything to do with it,” Mattingly said.

Bubble appreciation

The manager of the straight-laced Cardinals doesn’t have any problems with the Dodgers turning on a bubble machine in the dugout to celebrate home runs.

“We don’t have a bubble machine,” Mike Matheny said. “If we did, we might use it.”

Matheny said he likes seeing players display their emotions.

“I think we spend so much time being pretty guarded and everything close to the vest, it’s fun to watch guys show some emotion,” Matheny said. “And if it’s with bubbles, it’s with bubbles. Whatever it takes to have some fun with this game. I think it’s great for the fans to see that these guys are people, too, instead of just machines that completely block off emotions and fun, especially at this time of year. You’ve got to enjoy it.”

No. 1 enemy

Cardinals leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter batted .272 in the regular season, but the Dodgers haven’t been able to get him out in the series.

Through the first two games of the series, Carpenter is four for eight with two home runs, two doubles, six runs batted in and three runs.

“I believe he’s been an elite hitter all year,” Matheny said. “It’s the quality of the at-bats. I think anybody that faces us would agree, this guy just puts together tough at-bat after tough at-bat. And there’s not many people with the strike zone awareness he has, with the ability to find the barrel of the bat and fight off tough pitches like Matt can do.”

Ratings record

The Dodgers’ Game 2 victory over the Cardinals was the most-watched and highest-rated program in the history of MLB Network. The telecast drew 1.8 million viewers and a 1.7 coverage rating, according to Major League Baseball. The viewership peaked at 2.2 million viewers from 9:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. PDT.