The 2020 MLB postseason will be different than usual in a variety of different ways. First, with the league deciding to expand it, every team will be forced to play a three-game Wild Card Series before winners advancing to the Division Series.
Additionally, beginning with the DS, all teams will be playing in bubbles in Texas and Southern California. Without any travel involved, MLB decided to do away with off days in the middle of series.
That is arguably the biggest change as teams may now need to utilize all five of their starters in the postseason as opposed to the normal four. And there also will be less time off for relief pitchers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are perhaps the best-equipped team to deal with those changes as they have a ton of depth both in their rotation and bullpen. Behind Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, they have three young starters in Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urias, who all had a successful seasons.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has begun testing out different strategies in recent weeks, using the three young starters out of the bullpen with a reliever starting the game as an opener. He expects that to continue in the last week of the regular season so L.A. can get Gonsolin, May and Urias experience out of the bullpen.
“There’s a thought of potentially having each one of those guys pitch out of the ‘pen their last turn, just so we can kind of see it and continue keeping our options open while preparing these guys,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers may use their starters as bulk relievers, throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen, or they could also have shorter outings as well.
“I think the thing we’ve done a great job of is we’ve stretched them out to be able to take on bulk and innings, but also be able to shorten it if we need to,” Roberts added.
With Gonsolin and May having each made a relief appearance this month, Urias was the latest to try his hand at such a role. Joe Kelly served as the opener Wednesday night in lieu of Urias starting the game.
The left-hander entered in the third inning.
Gonsolin potentially next to pitch out of bullpen
Gonsolin is listed as the starter for Saturday’s game against the L.A. Angels, but he could end up having a similar appearance as Urias.
“That’s a conversation. We haven’t made that decision yet. I know Tony has done it once this year; I think in Arizona. Whether we decide to have him start on Saturday, remains to be seen. It’s a conversation,” Roberts said.
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