The Los Angeles Dodgers concluded the regular season with Julio Urías pitching in front of Clayton Kershaw in the rotation order, but five days off before Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium has afforded them an opportunity to potentially reset the order.
Having already said Urías being lined up ahead of Kershaw in the regular season rotation as representing any sort of guaranteed correlation to the playoffs, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered a glimpse into the decision-making process by explaining the team is looking beyond Game 1 of the NLDS.
“Just to give you a little peek behind the curtain, it’s more of who we feel is best to potentially come back on regular rest in Game 5,” Roberts said.
“So it’s not opponent-driven, it’s not talent-driven. It’s kind of where we feel who’s in the best spot.”
When asked if his remarks were simply another way of saying the Dodgers were evaluating between Kershaw and Urías for a potential start on short rest in a Game 5, Roberts simply answered, “No.”
Such could be required for the Game 2 starter, as a possible Game 5 would be played just four days later.
After Roberts shared some insight into the Dodgers’ thinking, Kershaw finished his regular season by holding the Colorado Rockies to just one run over five innings. He finished with nine strikeouts and improved to 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his final seven starts after coming off the 15-day injured list Sept. 1.
Roberts said Kershaw’s performance did not have any impact on what the team will ultimately decide with their NLDS rotation.
“Obviously we’re going to be down [Thursday], but having the trainers check in on Clayton to see how he feels, I think we still have a couple days before we have to make that decision,” he said.
“I think more of it is the recovery versus performance.”
Dodgers starting rotation for NLDS
At minimum, the Dodgers’ NLDS rotation will feature Tyler Anderson, Kershaw and Urías pitching in some order. Tony Gonsolin is a presumed fourth starter after returning from the IL during the final week of the season, though it’s conceivable he could also follow an opener due to only being stretched out to four innings.
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