The Los Angeles Dodgers took care of business against the Colorado Rockies to earn their sixth straight National League West Division championship, and now can look ahead to their next series
Because they defeated the Atlanta Braves in the regular-season series, the Dodgers will have home-field advantage against them in the NL Division Series, which begins Thursday.
As it currently stands, rookie Walker Buehler may be the Dodgers’ best pitcher. But because he pitched Monday’s tie-breaking game against the Rockies, he will not be available until Game 3 (Sunday) against the Braves.
Things can change before the series starts on Thursday, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that it will likely be Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu starting the first two games of the series at Dodger Stadium, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are on turn to pitch Games 1 and 2 on regular rest against the Braves. Roberts said “that’s probably the way it looks like” when asked if that is the plan.
The 2018 season certainly wasn’t Kershaw’s best, although it was still a strong campaign. In 26 starts, the 30-year-old went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA, 3.19 FIP and 1.04 WHIP while striking out 155 and walking 29 in 161.1 innings.
Kershaw has pitched in 11 NLDS games (10 starts) in his career, going 4-3 while posting a 4.18 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Two of those starts were in 2013 against the Braves when he gave up just one run in 13 innings.
Ryu was perhaps the biggest surprise of the Dodgers rotation in 2018. He was limited to 15 starts due to a groin injury but went 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA, 3.00 FIP and 1.01 WHIP. He struck out 89 while only walking 15 in 82.1 innings.
He hasn’t started a postseason game since 2014 but in three total playoff outings, is 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He also faced the Braves in that 2013 series, allowing four runs in three innings in his only start.
The Braves have yet to announce their rotation order for the NLDS, but it will likely consist of Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Kevin Gausman and Anibal Sanchez.