What's ahead? Dodgers postseason FAQ

September 30th, 2019

The Dodgers have won their seventh consecutive National League West title in a record-breaking season, and now their quest to return to the World Series begins.

What’s next?
Having clinched the best record in the National League, the Dodgers will face the Nationals, who won the NL Wild Card Game, in the NL Division Series.

How did they fare against the Nats?
The Dodgers went 4-3 against the Nationals; 2-2 in Los Angeles in May and 2-1 at Washington in July.

What is the NLDS schedule?
Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five NLDS presented by Utz are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4. Game 3 is Sunday, Oct. 6, with Games 4 and 5 (if needed) on Monday, Oct. 7, and Wednesday, Oct. 9.

What’s the status of injured players?
Justin Turner missed the last five games with a back injury, but insisted he will be ready to play on Thursday. Joe Kelly pitched Sunday for the first time since Sept. 18 because of an unspecified injury. He made only six pitches, retired both batters and said he’ll be ready by Thursday and won’t have a problem pitching on back-to-back days. Alex Verdugo is out for the NLDS because of a lower back injury that’s lingered since May.

Who’s in the starting rotation?
Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but they could be in any order, which the opponent’s lineup might influence. Kershaw’s relief appearance on Sunday probably indicates he will start Game 2, then be available in relief for Game 5. He is more adaptable to relief than the other two. Management appears to be in a quandary over where to slot Buehler and Ryu, knowing that the Game 1 starter would also start Game 5, if needed. Both are dominant at home.

Biggest question mark?
Specifically, closer Kenley Jansen; generally, the bullpen. It’s Jansen’s worst season, but he’s been better since a phone call last week from Minor League mentor Charlie Hough. Kelly’s uncertain health further points to Jansen getting the ball in the ninth.