- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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DENVER -- On second thought, Clayton Kershaw isn't going to start for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Nor is he going to start any other game the rest of the season.
Kershaw originally was slated to start Wednesday's series finale at Colorado, but after the Dodgers officially knocked the Rockies out of playoff contention on Tuesday night, Dodgers manager Joe Torre told Kershaw he wouldn't be needed because the Dodgers don't have any remaining games against playoff contenders.
Then, just before Wednesday's game, Torre told Kershaw that he would, in fact, pitch again, on Friday against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. But then, after the Dodgers beat the Rockies again on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep, Torre did another about-face and told Kershaw that once again, he is done for the season.
Rookie John Ely will now start on Friday night. Torre had figured he might need Ely out of the bullpen on Wednesday, when rookie Carlos Monasterios, who primarily is a reliever, was starting in place of Kershaw. When the Dodgers got through that game without Ely, that made Ely available for Friday.
Kershaw didn't seem to mind the back-and-forth.
"The only part that is hard is the mental part of it," he said. "You shut it down, and then you have to get it going again. Once I started to wrap my head around it, I was fine for Friday. Now that they say I won't start Friday, I can just kind of mentally relax. It's good to have to make those adjustments, because this game is unpredictable, and you have to be able to adjust on the fly."
Now that he is officially done, Kershaw finishes his third major league season with a record of 13-10, an ERA of 2.91, 32 starts, 204 1/3 innings and 212 strikeouts. His wins, starts, innings and strikeouts all represent career highs.
"I think I made progress from last year to this year, which is always what you want to accomplish," Kershaw said. "Everybody looks at the individual stuff so much, but you also have to look at how your team does, and that was obviously a little bit disappointing."
Chad Billingsley will start for the Dodgers on Saturday, and Ted Lilly will start Sunday's season finale. Like Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda is done for the year, finishing 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA in his third and possibly final season with the Dodgers.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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