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Dodgers mulling possible pitching scenarios

September 28, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- Winning a sixth National League West title is still on the table for the Dodgers entering the final weekend of the regular season, but the myriad scenarios for advancing are accompanied by as many potential starting pitching options."Obviously, the regular-season goal is to win the division," said

SAN FRANCISCO -- Winning a sixth National League West title is still on the table for the Dodgers entering the final weekend of the regular season, but the myriad scenarios for advancing are accompanied by as many potential starting pitching options.
"Obviously, the regular-season goal is to win the division," said manager Dave Roberts. "That's still our goal. Do we control it? No. Most importantly, ultimately, the goal is to win a World Series. To do that, you have to get into the postseason. To take the approach that it's division or bust is discounting the importance of getting to the postseason.
"Would it be a disappointment not to win the division? Yeah. But you have to refocus and realize you have a chance to win a championship. If it gets to that point, I would assume that would be our mindset."
Roberts seemed to be hinting that there could be starting pitching surprises as early as Sunday with an eye on possible elimination games early next week. Rich Hill was told he's the pitcher if there's a Tuesday game. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start Saturday and wouldn't be available Monday or Tuesday.
Walker Buehler is scheduled to start the Sunday series finale against the Giants, but Roberts said that could change.
"We've got some options, but right now we're not ready to say who and how we're going to use guys," said Roberts. "We've got to think about every possible option."
If the Dodgers end the regular season tied with Colorado for the division title, a play-in game between the two would be held at Dodger Stadium on Monday at 1 p.m. PT, with rosters at 40. If the Dodgers lose that game but still earn a Wild Card berth, they would play at Milwaukee on Tuesday, with rosters at 25.
Roberts acknowledged the difference in roster size could come into play, as a bullpen game would necessitate deploying more relievers.
"That weighs into our decision," he said.
Roberts said Alex Wood is a candidate to start again and Thomas Stripling, who lasted only 1 2/3 innings starting Wednesday, would be available Sunday.
• Roberts defended his Friday night starting lineup, particularly the omission of right-handed-hitting Yasiel Puig against Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner. Puig is hitting .217 with two homers and three RBIs in 46 career at-bats against Bumgarner. Puig is hitting .176 in 51 at-bats against San Francisco this year.
Enrique Hernandez -- .444 with four homers and eight RBIs in 36 at-bats against Bumgarner -- started in right field. Chris Taylor, who started in center field, was hitting .091 against Bumgarner.

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