Buehler, Kershaw to open Wild Card Series

September 30th, 2020

will start Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series against the Brewers, with starting Game 2, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Sunday.

Buehler has been dealing with a right index finger blister that put him on the injured list twice. He returned Thursday night and pitched four scoreless innings with six strikeouts against Oakland.

Kershaw has been the Dodgers’ most consistent starting pitcher this year, displaying an uptick in fastball velocity after a deep dive in the offseason to remake himself back into an elite ace.

“There’s a lot that went into it, but we just feel that just puts us in the best spot in those two games and also going forward,” said Roberts. “You could have interchanged. Honestly, it’s one and the same, to be quite honest. We talked about it, debated it and just feel really confident that both are great options.”

In other words, Buehler can throw 100 mph and Kershaw can’t, so Buehler has greater potential for domination, even though Kershaw has had a much better 2020 season.

Buehler started Game 1 of the National League Division Series last year against the Nationals and threw six shutout innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts in a 6-0 win. He followed that with 6 2/3 innings in the decisive Game 5, allowing one run in a no-decision when Kershaw gave up a lead in relief and Howie Kendrick hit a grand slam off in the 10th inning.

Buehler is 1-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 0.853 WHIP in six postseason games. Kershaw is 9-11 with a 4.43 ERA and 1.105 WHIP in 32 postseason games.

Roberts has given indications that would be the starter or bulk-innings pitcher if a Game 3 is played. and could also factor in a Game 3, unless they are used in relief in the first two games.

• Right fielder was sore and not in the lineup Sunday, wrapped up and put away after being drilled by Julio Teheran on the left hip in the first inning Saturday night. The Dodgers have a day off on Monday, and Roberts said Betts will get at-bats during a Tuesday workout.

“Mookie’s still a little bit sore, so we have him down today,” said Roberts. “But he’ll be ready to go. He’ll take at-bats Tuesday in a simulated game. Just hip soreness. He wanted to be in there today, but it just makes the most sense to give him a day and a half and get him ready for Wednesday.”

• Roberts said there still are three to five player decisions management is debating for the Wild Card Series roster. The rules that have expanded the postseason roster to 28 provide the Dodgers a huge benefit because of their talent depth.

“The three-game series matters, the opponent matters and how many position players versus pitchers matters, as well,” Roberts said.