Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Dodgers News

Inbox: How Dodgers' playoff rotation may look

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick answers fans' questions
@kengurnick
September 23, 2019

Expected starting rotation for Postseason? -- Jorge Corella (rakes ) @jorcor13 Manager Dave Roberts has only said Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler will start. He hasn’t given an order or a fourth starter. Anything else is speculation. Here’s mine. I could see Buehler Game 1, Ryu, Game 2,

Expected starting rotation for Postseason?
-- Jorge Corella (rakes ) @jorcor13

Manager Dave Roberts has only said Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler will start. He hasn’t given an order or a fourth starter. Anything else is speculation. Here’s mine. I could see Buehler Game 1, Ryu, Game 2, Kershaw Game 3. Why? Buehler and Ryu dominate at home, where Games 1 and 2 will be played. Buehler showed last year in Game 163 and Game 7 of the NLCS that he can handle the big moment. Kershaw has the most experience pitching in front of a hostile crowd, and has pitched at least six innings more consistently, which is important in Game 3 if there’s an opener/bullpen game the following day, which appears to be the case with Rich Hill a likely candidate.

How many pitchers will the Dodgers carry in the divisional playoff? With a bullpen game, Game 4 ... innings can be an issue.
-- Frederick Kranz @dodgerboy1953

Based on recent comments, a 12-man staff. But as with anything Dodgers, as Roberts often says, “Things can change.” That said, Roberts was particularly pleased on Sunday that Ryu went seven innings after back-to-back six-inning starts from Kershaw and Buehler. The fact that Ross Stripling, Hill, Julio Uriás, Kenta Maeda, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin are each capable of pitching multiple innings should provide enough coverage for a best-of-five series.

Did Dave Roberts say Joe Kelly would be ready for the NLDS?
-- Jamaal Gonzalez-Artis @KingsPapa1015

Sort of. What Roberts said is that he would stay away from using Joe Kelly over the last few games of the regular season, and that the most important thing is for him to be ready for the playoffs. Roberts said that he trusts the righty will be ready because of his “track record,” and that Kelly feels he could pitch now. Add all of that up and it seems like Kelly will be active and busy in the postseason, but there’s obviously something wrong with him and the club is being as vague as possible about it, which does raise red flags.

Will we see Alex Verdugo in the postseason?
-- Osmar @orobles32

Impossible to say. We know Alex Verdugo won’t be in the National League Division Series. He has been plagued by lower back issues since May and he wasn’t seen on the field doing any baseball activities last week. The longer that continues, the less likely his return would seem. And the longer he’s out, the greater rust becomes an additional issue. He’s been shut down a long time and you’re only asking him to jump right back into the deepest waters of the season. Seems like a lot to ask.

How much of a priority is winning home-field advantage in the final couple series?
-- JimmyJam @confusedLAfan

Less to club management than to the fans, it would appear. Maybe it’s because the Dodgers had home-field advantage in 2017 and lost the World Series, anyway. To this point, the priority has appeared to lean toward setting up the roster for the postseason.

Will Kenley Jansen have a short leash in the postseason?
-- chucky is back @raider_chucky

How healthy is Kelly? In other words, if not Kenley Jansen, then whom? Jansen spoiled the Dodgers and their fans by being so good for so long. Right now, he’s not. But trying to interchangeably plug in a live arm to handle that kind of pressure might have the same results as sticking an outfielder at first base to keep his bat in the lineup. A committee utilizing matchups depending on the upcoming batters each inning wouldn’t be shocking.

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