MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers may be blurring the line between starter and reliever this postseason, but opposite them in the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers will trot out a formidable rotation of traditional starting pitchers. Manager Dave Roberts announced on Thursday that Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' Game 1 starter,
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers may be blurring the line between starter and reliever this postseason, but opposite them in the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers will trot out a formidable rotation of traditional starting pitchers. Manager Dave Roberts announced on Thursday that Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' Game 1 starter, will be followed by Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Rich Hill in Games 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
"It's still hard to bet against good quality starting pitching for me, and every staff is kind of composed differently," Roberts said.
This means that Games 1 and 2 of the NLCS will feature matchups of experienced southpaws at Miller Park, with Giovany Gonzalez set to start the opener for the Brewers opposite Kershaw, and Wade Miley to follow for Milwaukee against Ryu. That sets up a Game 3 battle between Buehler and Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin at Dodger Stadium.
:: NLCS schedule and results ::
Roberts surprised many when he named Ryu as his starter for Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Braves to give Kershaw a fifth day's rest before pitching in that series. It had been the first time since 2009 that the Dodgers had not opened a postseason behind Kershaw, but Ryu did his best Kershaw impression in Game 1, striking out eight batters in seven shutout innings. Over his last four starts, he has allowed one run in 26 innings, with 24 strikeouts and two walks.
Ryu being lined up for Game 2 allows the Dodgers to turn to Buehler on extra rest for Game 3 after the rookie right-hander saw the game speed up and a hostile crowd get loud in one bad inning of his NLDS Game 3 start against the Braves, in which he issued three walks -- one intentional, one with the bases loaded -- and was taken deep for a grand slam by Ronald Acuna Jr. Although Ryu pitches better at home, Buehler will get the ball in a much friendlier atmosphere than the one he faced in his postseason debut.
"We want to keep Ryu as current as possible. He's pitching really well," said Roberts. "And then just to give Walker just a couple of extra days on the front end to get him ready."
Buehler yielded one run over seven innings, but he took a tough-luck loss in a 1-0 defeat to Milwaukee on July 31.
Similarly, Hill will have a full week of rest after a wild NLDS Game 4 start in Atlanta, in which he walked five but avoided significant damage in 4 1/3 innings of two-run ball. He has allowed two or fewer runs in his last seven postseason starts for the Dodgers and twice held the Brewers to one earned run in six innings this season, including nine strikeouts against Milwaukee on July 20, one shy of his season high. Hill also will be available out of the bullpen in the first two games.
• It's generally bad postseason form to say you'd rather oppose one team over another, but Kenley Jansen said he was relieved when the Brewers eliminated the Rockies.
That meant he wouldn't need to travel to Colorado, a place that's bad for his health.
Jansen said he would have asked his cardiologist to adjust his medication so he could play in a postseason series in Denver's high elevation had there been one.
In 2012, Jansen experienced an irregular heartbeat that required offseason ablation surgery. In Denver this August, it happened again, putting him on the disabled list, the bullpen in disarray and necessitating scheduling another heart operation when the season ends.
In September, Jansen followed doctors' orders and skipped the crucial three-game series in Colorado, with the Dodgers winning two of three.
• Alvin Toles, who wasn't on the NLDS roster and didn't travel to Atlanta as a member of the taxi squad, worked out with the Dodgers and is with the club in Milwaukee.
Toles probably won't be on the initial NLCS roster, but is likely on standby should outfielder Joc Pederson take a paternity leave for the birth of his first child, due next week.
The NLCS roster is due Friday morning. The Dodgers are considering adding long reliever Thomas Stripling and possibly an extra hitter, either James Farmer or Chase Utley.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.