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Stacked off-days affect rotation decisions

@kengurnick
May 15, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers settled on a starting pitcher for Sunday, naming Hyun-Jin Ryu to face the Reds in Cincinnati. Manager Dave Roberts had earlier named Rich Hill to start on Friday night and Walker Buehler to start Saturday. In recent years the Reds have posed problems for right-handed

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers settled on a starting pitcher for Sunday, naming Hyun-Jin Ryu to face the Reds in Cincinnati.

Manager Dave Roberts had earlier named Rich Hill to start on Friday night and Walker Buehler to start Saturday.

In recent years the Reds have posed problems for right-handed pitchers, but this year their offensive splits are reversed -- a .658 OPS vs. RHP and .752 OPS vs. LHP.

Ryu is coming off back-to-back gems -- a shutout of the Braves on May 7 and a near no-hitter of the Nationals on Sunday. He will be starting on six days' rest, as will Hill and Buehler. The only one of the three that faced the Reds at Dodger Stadium in April was Buehler, who allowed one unearned run in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-2 win on April 17.

By starting Ryu on Sunday, Clayton Kershaw is lined up to start Tuesday against Tampa Bay on six days' rest. To move up Kershaw to Sunday would have meant delaying Ryu until Tuesday, which would have given him eight days' rest, although Roberts downplayed that.

“Hyun-Jin is in a really good place,” said Roberts. “If anybody can handle extra off-days, a schedule that’s not always consistent, especially with the off-days we’ve got coming, is kind of crazy, but we have to make do. It really doesn’t affect Hyun-Jin. Every fifth day or two extra days' respite, I don’t think it matters.”

The schedule has created a challenge for the routine-oriented starters, as the Dodgers on Thursday will have their second of four days off in an 11-day span.

Since April 25 entering Wednesday night’s game, Dodgers starters are 9-1 with a 2.43 ERA, a .215 batting average against and a .616 OPS.

• The Dodgers will activate left-handed reliever Caleb Ferguson from the injured list Friday for the Reds series, with a corresponding roster move to be made then. There had been discussion about placing left-handed reliever Scott Alexander on the injured list with a sore hip, but that was before the club lost left-hander Julio Urías on Tuesday to the restricted list.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.