Gonzalez sticks with pitching plans

While the Dodgers shuffled their pitching plans, moving ace Clayton Kershaw up to pitch Game 4 on three days’ rest, the Braves didn’t waver in their decision not to do the same with Kris Medlen.

Freddy Garcia started Game 4 as planned. Medlen would pitch a Game 5, if necessary, on Wednesday.

“That didn’t affect our decision at all,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said before Monday’s game, when asked about the Kershaw change. “We’ve got to take care of our team. We know our guys, and we know how to prepare them and how successful they’re going to be in certain situations.”

The Braves have made a point to be cautious with their young starters this season, if anything giving them more rest than less. Gonzalez gave Medlen, Julio Teheran, and Mike Minor extra days’ rest coming down the stretch. Medlen is also in his second full season coming off Tommy John surgery.

Former Braves manager Bobby Cox had a long history of pitching Braves starters on three day’s rest in the postseason, to varying degrees of success. John Smoltz was 2-1 with a 1.98 ERA in six postseason starts on three days’ rest, including Game 7 of the 1991 World Series in the classic 1-0 duel against Twins ace Jack Morris.

Greg Maddux was 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two postseason starts on three days’ rest. Tom Glavine was 2-4 with a 6.10 ERA in six postseason starts on three days’ rest.

Gonzalez is close friends with Cox and actually spoke to him Monday morning by phone, which they do almost every day. They talked about it, Gonzalez said, but Cox isn’t one to do a lot of last-minute lobbying with his protégé.

“It didn’t affect my decision,” Gonzalez said of their conversation. “It always boils down to the person pitching that day. You can’t just make a blanket statement saying, ‘Hey, everybody can go on short rest.’ I think every individual, every pitcher is different. You’ve got to make the best decision for that person to be successful.”