Clayton Kershaw entered the interview room at Dodger Stadium on Thursday afternoon in a T-shirt with the collar cut into a V-neck. Sweat stains coated his cap. He had completed a workout in left field minutes earlier, hours before the Dodgers commenced their sixth straight trip to the postseason. It would be the only time Kershaw was on the field Thursday.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, not Kershaw, started Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Kershaw was assigned Game 2 on Friday. It was the first time since 2009 Kershaw did not start the first game of the postseason for the Dodgers. The decision, announced late Tuesday, unleashed shock waves. It snatched attention. And it surprised Kershaw.