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Dodgers tab Kershaw for NLCS opener

theScore — Jonah Birenbaum

The Los Angeles Dodgers will send ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw to the mound Saturday for their National League Championship Series opener against either the Washington Nationals or Chicago Cubs, manager Dave Roberts announced Thursday.

Roberts added that left-hander Alex Wood will start Game 4 of the best-of-seven NLCS, but is still contemplating whether to start right-hander Yu Darvish in Game 2 and left-hander Rich Hill in Game 3, or vice-versa.

Related: Kershaw ain't right, and that could spell trouble for the Dodgers

Kershaw, who led the National League with a 2.31 ERA (180 ERA+) during the regular-season, wasn't his dominant self in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing four runs - on four solo homers - over 6 1/3 innings in a 9-5 win. The shaky outing didn't help dispel Kershaw's reputation as a mediocre postseason performer, as the three-time Cy Young award winner now owns a career 4.63 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 15 starts and four relief appearances in the playoffs.

Wood, incidentally, didn't pitch at all in his club's three-game NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks. An All-Star for the first time in his career this year, Wood finished the regular season with a career-best 2.72 ERA (154 ERA+) and 3.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 25 starts and a pair of relief outings.

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