With a little over a week until Opening Day of the 2019 season, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has yet to reveal who will be starting on the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
At the beginning of the spring, Roberts named Kershaw the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter. It was due to extend his franchise-record to a ninth consecutive year of taking the ball in a season opener.
Kershaw has since been dealing with a shoulder injury and has not pitched in a Spring Training game though, so it has been clear for the last couple of weeks he likely would not be ready for Opening Day. Roberts finally officially ruled him out on Monday.
One other pitcher who also has been out for most of the spring is Walker Buehler as he recently said that his arm wasn’t feeling quite right when camp opened. Buehler is now healthy and making his Cactus League debut on Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians.
But even if all goes as planned, Buehler won’t be considered for a potential start on Opening Day, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Roberts said the decision on who to start Opening Day has not been made yet — “but we’re getting close.” He eliminated Walker Buehler who hasn’t pitched in a spring game yet after dealing with his own issues early in camp.
Prior to the Dodgers losing to the Cleveland Indians at Surprise Stadium, Roberts said the young right-hander was among the pitchers being considered to take the ball on March 28.
Buehler is scheduled to throw around three innings and 45 pitches on Tuesday. Had he not been formally ruled out, Buehler would not have been stretched out for a typical first start of the regular season anyhow. Though, Roberts previously said he was open to a ‘non-traditional’ outing by Kershaw or Buehler.
In light of Roberts’ decisions, the Dodgers figure to be selecting between Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda or Hyun-Jin Ryu for Opening Day.