The biggest question on every single Dodgers fans’ mind right now is as follows: What is the Dodgers’ postseason rotation going to look like?
We know Clayton Kershaw is going Game 1. We know Bobby Miller is going Game 2. But even those two certainties don’t mean much, as there’s no telling how long each pitcher’s leash will be, and what the bullpen behind them will look like.
Those decisions will obviously have a huge impact on Game 3, where we could see around five different pitchers take the mound to open the game. Lance Lynn could be a “traditional” starter, Ryan Pepiot could be the starter or bulk guy, and any one of Brusdar Graterol, Shelby Miller or Caleb Ferguson (if he makes the roster) could play the role of opener.
Suffice to say, there are more questions than answers right now as the Dodgers get set for the NLDS beginning on Saturday, Oct. 7, but manager Dave Roberts tried to answer some of them when he caught up with Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman on their New York Post baseball podcast.
When asked about who could be potential “six-plus inning” starters, Roberts’ response likely won’t shock any Dodger fans.
“I don’t see any of these guys really being six-plus innings,” Roberts said.Via New York Post Baseball Podcast
Why isn’t Roberts planning on using a traditional six-plus inning starter in October?
“I think that the collection of 12 to 13 arms, I think the arm talent is really special, they’re unique,” Roberts said. “I think that there’s not a lot of familiarity with other hitters, so I think that from one side it could be a position of strength. Certainly there’s an unknown for some of our young players in the postseason. But I think we’re just going to kinda of throw a bunch of different looks at guys and go from there. And I really feel that we’re gonna prevent runs.”Via New York Post Baseball Podcast
Last year the Dodgers did have more traditional options with Julio Urias going in Game 1, Clayton Kershaw going in Game 2 and Tyler Anderson going in Game 4. However, none of them went more than five innings, much to the dismay of Dodger fans everywhere, especially regarding Anderson being pulled after five shutout innings in Game 4.
This year, the Dodgers have put together a patchwork rotation with an ailing Kershaw, a home-run happy Lynn and rookies. If I had to guess how the Dodgers’ postseason pitching goes, at least in the NLDS, it would be as follows:
- Game 1: Kershaw goes five innings, traditional bullpen follows him.
- Game 2: Miller goes five innings, traditional bullpen follows him (there’s a day off between Game 1 and Game 2 so almost everyone should be fully rested).
- Game 3: Shelby Miller opens in first inning. Ryan Pepiot goes four or five out of the bullpen.
- Game 4 (if necessary): Lance Lynn goes five innings. Emmet Sheehan/Ryan Yarbrough bulk.
- Game 5 (if necessary): At that point it’s anyone’s best guess.
Obviously the way the games are going will have a lot to do with the way in which Roberts manages his bullpen, but one thing seems certain:
Roberts won’t be utilizing any pitcher as a traditional starter, and will have to piece together quite the complex puzzle to get 27 outs a game for the duration of the postseason.
Buckle up, Dodger fans. This October is going to be a bumpy ride.
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
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