PHOENIX -- The Dodgers will start pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler in the three-game series in San Francisco that ends the regular season, skipping Rich Hill.Manager Dave Roberts said Hill would be a likely candidate to start a tiebreaker game or the National League Wild Card Game
PHOENIX -- The Dodgers will start pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler in the three-game series in San Francisco that ends the regular season, skipping Rich Hill.
Manager Dave Roberts said Hill would be a likely candidate to start a tiebreaker game or the National League Wild Card Game on Monday or Tuesday, if needed. Starting Ryu is an indication of his importance for any postseason series.
"There was some thought in starting Ryu along those lines, for sure," Roberts said. "But these games right now are the most important. It is a possibility, and we have to think through that, too."
The Dodgers entered Tuesday with a 1 1/2-game lead on the Rockies in the NL West with five games to play and a magic number of five to clinch.
"Rich is throwing the ball really well, but Hyun-Jin has been throwing the ball as well as anyone in the National League over the course of four or five starts," said Roberts. "To have Rich, don't know if it's in the 'pen, but Rich has been a huge part of what we've done and where we're going, for sure."
Ryu has made 14 starts this season, despite being sidelined from early May to mid-August by a severe groin strain. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any start, is 6-3 with a 2.00 ERA and he allowed two earned runs in 11 2/3 innings in two starts against San Francisco this year.
Hill is 10-5 with a 3.87 ERA and is coming off a win over the Padres in which he allowed one run in seven innings. But he's allowed more than three earned runs in seven of his starts, including three of the last four.
"Just got to stay ready, that's the biggest thing," said Hill. "Obviously, I want to be out there pitching. Any time I can get the ball, I want the ball. Just stay positive about it and try to do whatever you can to help the team win."
Maeda shaken up after hitting Walker
If it looked like Dodgers reliever Kenta Maeda was rattled after hitting Christian Walker in the face with a 94-mph fastball on Monday night, he was.
"I have never hit someone in the face or near the face in my career," Maeda said. "Honestly, I was not able to recover. I was hesitant to throw inside high against the next batter. I waved off those balls and was thinking of throwing with more command of the ball."
Before resuming the inning, Maeda was visited on the mound by pitching coach Rich Honeycutt.
"Honey told me to forget about it and get through the next batter," Maeda said. "As long as I'm playing baseball, stuff like that will happen and I need to get over it quick. Honey told me to focus and concentrate on the next batter."
Walker suffered a sinus fracture and will be held out of Arizona's final five regular-season games.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.