The Los Angeles Dodgers have not announced their National League Division Series rotation, but the four probable starters are Tyler Anderson, Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías.
Urías finished the regular season pitching in front of Kershaw, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that didn’t necessarily guarantee their order in the NLDS. Kershaw and Urías are guaranteed to start the first two games, but the Dodgers have not publicly revealed how they will be lined up.
Kershaw and Urías, however, are aware of when they will start in the NLDS.
“It’s something that we’ve talked about, but as far as the gamesmanship part, it’s not as big of a deal compared to instances where it’s a left-hander or right-hander,” Roberts said.
“Whoever we play, they know they’re going to get a left-handed pitcher, and they know the two guys for the first two games. Not trying to be too coy, we just want to hold it a little bit longer.”
The Dodgers have maintained how Kershaw and Urías are ordered to start is not predicated on opponent, but rather factoring in recovering in time for a potential Game 5 start. It’s a stance president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman echoed while speaking with media on Friday.
“It’s not opponent-driven. We feel like we have to exceptionally deserving pitchers who have been huge parts of our past success and are going to be big parts of what we do this October,” Friedman said.
“You can argue different things. I think some of it will be getting with them and talking. We just don’t have to figure that out right now, so we’re more focused on things that are a little bit more time sensitive. Both are great candidates for Game 1, and the other will be a really strong two.
“If we’re fortunate enough to get through the DS, there’s implications of what then looks like in the CS. Again, you could argue a lot of different things, and from my standpoint, it’s a good problem to have with two guys so deserving.”
Clayton Kershaw’s Game 1 history with Dodgers
The Dodgers historically started in Kershaw in Game 1 of their postseason runs, but that changed in 2018 when Hyun-Jin Ryu started the opener of the NLDS.
Then in 2019, Walker Buehler started Game 1 of the NLDS, and the opener of the Wild Card Series in 2020. Kershaw took the ball in Game 2 in each of the three aforementioned scenarios.
This marks a second year in a row the Dodgers have opened October with Buehler on the mound, and a third consecutive season in which Kershaw was pushed back to Game 2 of the first round. After a dominant regular season, Hyun-Jin Ryu started Game 1 of the National League Division Series in 2018.
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