Detroit Lions: Don Mattingly

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Matthew Stafford could see his childhood friend, Clayton Kershaw possibly walking into Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly’s office and demanding the ball Monday.

Whether that exact scenario happened or not is not known, but Mattingly said yesterday Kershaw said after Game 1 he wanted the ball in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against Atlanta. For the first time in his career, Kershaw received the ball on short rest.

He responded, allowing three hits, striking out six and not allowing any earned runs over six innings in a 4-3 win for the Dodgers that ended the Braves’ season and earned the young ace more praise.

Including from Detroit.

“I’m proud of him, man,” Stafford said Tuesday. “I was happy to see him. I don’t know how it went down or whatever but he got the ball on three days rest, first time he had done it in his career.

“I could see him beating on Don Mattingly’s desk and asking for the ball. He’s a competitive guy. Pitched great and it’s a fun team to watch.”

Kershaw and Stafford grew up together, playing all sorts of sports, including baseball and football.

“Any time I get a chance to watch him and cheer him on,” Stafford said. “I’m definitely doing that.”

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