Los Angeles Dodgers pitching probables for this week’s stretch of games now has Clayton Kershaw taking the ball in Thursday’s series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. Kershaw was previously scheduled to face the Cincinnati Reds in the three-game finale.
The change means Kershaw will make his 23rd start of the season on an extra day of rest. He threw 98 pitches over six innings against the Colorado Rockies last week, and 91 and 107 pitches, respectively, in his two starts prior.
Beyond providing Kershaw with an extra day of rest, there may also be a strategy element to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts adjusting his rotation. The Dodgers previously made a change to their rotation during just-completed series with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Rockies, both of whom remain in the thick of the NL West race.
The Cardinals are one game ahead of the Dodgers for the second spot in the National League Wild Card Game. St. Louis didn’t draw Kershaw during their three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium from Aug. 20-22.
As for Wednesday’s game with the Reds, it’s unclear which direction the Dodgers may now go in. A bullpen game is an option, or Ross Stripling could make a spot start if he isn’t needed out of the bullpen prior to that.
Stripling returned from the 10-day disabled list over the weekend and thus far his only appearance was throwing 14 pitches and retiring one of two batters faced in last Friday’s win over the Rockies.