With everyone being well-rested going into the National League Championship Series, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had the luxury of choosing how he would like to order his starting rotation against the Milwaukee Brewers.
After tossing eight shutout innings in the Division Series, it came as no surprise that Clayton Kershaw will take the mound in Game 1 on Friday night. Rich Hill is the team’s clear No. 4 starter, so it also wasn’t surprising to see that he will be starting Game 4 of the series.
The real decision Roberts had to make was which games Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler would pitch, and he opted to go with Ryu in Game 2 on the road and Buehler back at Dodger Stadium for Game 3.
Both pitchers have been better at home this season, so for Roberts, the decision came down to how much rest each pitcher has had since their last outing.
“The thought process is Hyun-Jin pitched Game 1 in the DS, and not to give him the two extra days to not pitch Game 2 and then to pitch Game 3,” he explained.
“So I think that to keep him as current as possible, to keep him going. He’s pitching really well. And then also just to give Walker just a couple extra days on the front end to get him ready. We just felt that Clayton starting Game 1, Hyun-Jin going Game 2, and then Walker, gives each of these guys the best chance to perform at their best.”
Ryu has been on a roll as of late, most recently pitching seven scoreless innings in Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves. That game was at Dodger Stadium though, so it will be interesting to see if he can keep that momentum going at Miller Park.
Buehler pitched in a bit of a hostile environment at SunTrust Park and it may have affected him a bit as he gave up five runs in five innings, including a bases-loaded walk to pitcher Sean Newcomb and then a grand slam to Ronald Acuña Jr. He was outstanding when he pitched Game 163 against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium though.
If the series goes beyond five games, both Ryu and Buehler would make their second starts on the road in Games 6 and 7, respectively.
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