After sim game, Buehler in line to start Thurs.

September 20th, 2020

came out of his Saturday simulated game healthy, manager Dave Roberts said on Sunday, keeping Buehler on schedule to be activated off the injured list and start on Thursday in a tuneup/test for the postseason.

Buehler made 90 pitches, 75 of them without a covering on his blistered right index finger, which has required two visits to the IL and limited him to 7 2/3 Major League innings in the last month.

“Really positive things,” said Roberts, who earlier said Clayton Kershaw would start on Friday, an indicator of what the order will be when the Wild Card Series round of the postseason begins on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Rather than fill Buehler’s spot in the rotation with a replacement, the Dodgers have gone with bullpen games while continuing to win.

• Although the Dodgers were in line to clinch the division title with a win on Sunday and a Padres loss, Roberts said any celebration would be muted because the Padres would still be playing while the Dodgers were en route home from Denver.

“I don’t want to hold us up. I want us to get home as quickly as possible,” he said.

Roberts said he’s been scoreboard watching the daily jockeying of the Wild Card contenders.

“It’s more about just staying in the know, knowing what’s going on with potential matchups and just kind of watching guys I want to keep my eyes on,” he said. “Potential guys we might be seeing, both pitchers and hitters.”

Unlike a normal season, it’s possible for the Dodgers to go through an entire postseason against clubs they haven’t faced all season.

“We just really haven’t put eyes on these guys in person, so it obviously made sense as far as the logistics we’re up against this year,” he said. “I catch them on TV and you know who they are, but you still have got to defer to the numbers. It’s certainly different this year.”

Based on play through Saturday, of the other 15 teams in line for postseason berths, the Dodgers this year have faced only three -- San Diego, Oakland and Houston.

• Sunday’s lineup was without Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor, who earned a scheduled day off. With Monday a scheduled off-day for the club, that provides Betts and Taylor 48 hours of rest.

Zach McKinstry received his first Major League start replacing Betts in right field, but McKinstry is likely to be optioned back to the alternative training site on Tuesday, when Joc Pederson is expected to return from the family medical emergency list.