"A.J.'s huge," Kershaw said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. "Not only are A.J. and I pretty good buddies off the field, obviously, but on the field I have a lot of trust in him and what he calls. I know he's done probably more homework than anybody, other than [pitching coach Rick] Honeycutt."
Said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, "It seems like they've been friends for a while, and I think that always helps. ... I think all of our pitchers have a great deal of respect for A.J. I know [Cardinals catcher] Yadier [Molina] gets a lot of attention, and he should. But we love our guy."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.