10/05/2009 3:50 PM ET
Kershaw: Ready for the challenge
Left-hander slated to start Game 2 of NLDS vs. Cardinals
After a long, 162-game, regular-season schedule, our club is definitely ready to get the playoffs underway. That playoff atmosphere is starting to take hold. It's energizing. Everyone is excited about the opportunity in front of us.
Randy Wolf is going to take the ball for us for Game 1, and what I like about Randy as a pitcher is how consistent he is. We know what he's going to give us, and he's really been solid all season. He's taken the ball every fifth day, and, for more than 30 starts, he's given us a chance to win. That's all we can ask of him. We know we'll be in the game, so it's up to us to capitalize.
I'm expected to get the ball for Game 2 and I'm really excited about it. It's going to be a first for me. It's also a wonderful opportunity.
Last year, my first year in the big leagues, I pitched during the playoffs out of the bullpen. As a starter, I feel like I can control the game a little bit more. I'm excited about it and I will be ready to go.
Our pitching staff will be facing a very talented and a very deep Cardinals offense. But this is the playoffs -- you know that any lineup you face in the postseason is going to be a good one. My plan is to go to my strengths and throw strikes. There's really no great secret to it.
We also get to start at home. It's great to have home-field advantage. Saturday night, when we clinched the division, our fans gave us a taste of just how excited they can get. As players, we can feed off that energy level.
When we play in St. Louis, it will be a challenge as well. There's a lot of great baseball tradition there, too, and the Cardinals fans love baseball. They seem to understand the game really well. They'll cheer for sacrifice bunts. It's a good atmosphere for a player.
Regardless of where the games are played, though, going forward it's all about taking care of business. We're glad to still be playing baseball.
Clayton Kershaw, just 21, was 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA and a team-high 185 strikeouts over 31 games in his second big league season. The National League West champion Dodgers face the NL Central champion Cardinals in the Division Series beginning on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.