The Los Angeles Dodgers’ rough patch of their schedule to begin the season is behind them as they now have four days off in a two-week span. Not only that, but the breaks in the schedule are Monday and Thursday of this week and next.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts used the first off day as a chance to reset the starting rotation as a means to provide pitchers with additional rest. Chief among them is Rich Hill, who was pushed back to start Friday’s series opener against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
He was swapped in the order with Kenta Maeda, who now takes the mound at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday to face the San Diego Padres on normal rest.
Walker Buehler is scheduled to follow Hill this weekend, but Roberts has still yet to decide who will start the series finale on Sunday, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
Roberts announced that Rich Hill and Walker Buehler will start against the Reds on Friday and Saturday, respectively, but said the club hasn’t decided on a starter for Sunday.
If Roberts does not break from the current rotation order, Hyun-Jin Ryu would be in line to start that game on six days’ rest. Ryu has an injury history and is coming off a start in which he was deep into a no-hitter and tossed eight shutout innings against the Washington Nationals.
It required Ryu to throw a career-high 116 pitches, which was a result of Roberts providing some leeway as the left-hander pursued his first career no-hitter. It was lost on a Gerardo Parra ground-rule double with one out in the eighth inning.
The other option to face the Reds would be Clayton Kershaw, who would be on regular rest after starting Tuesday night’s game against the Padres. If Roberts decides to go with Kershaw, then that would give Ryu two extra days before he would take the mound Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
One other factor that could go into Roberts’ decision could be how both Ryu and Kershaw have fared in their respective career against the Reds, particularly at Great American Ball Park.
Ryu is 3-2 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 39 strikeouts and six walks in 34.1 innings in six career starts against the Reds. He has not fared quite as well when facing them on the road, however, posting a 5.06 ERA in three career starts in Cincinnati.
Compared to Ryu, Kershaw has been better overall and at Great American Ball Park. Kershaw has faced the Reds 11 times, going 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 84 strikeouts and 22 walks in 78 innings. He has a 3.27 ERA in five starts in the hitter-friendly stadium in Cincinnati.