When the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 2018 MLB postseason, they surprisingly did so with Hyun-Jin Ryu taking the mound against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
It marked the first time since 2009 that Clayton Kershaw did not start the Dodgers’ first game of the postseason. Their strategy paid off, as both southpaws spun shutout working, helping Los Angeles take a 2-0 lead in a series they eventually won in four games.
Prior to facing the Braves in Game 4 this week, Roberts said Kershaw would start if the NLDS went to a Game 5. With that not manifesting, the third-year manager named Kershaw his starter for Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.
Roberts reaffirmed that during an NLCS workout, but said the club has not yet decided who will follow Kershaw in Games 2 and 3, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group
“We don’t have our starter for Game 2 or 3 decided yet,” Roberts said, acknowledging only that there were a number of factors being considered – none of which he was willing to discuss.
Assuming the Dodgers stick with a rotation of Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill and Ryu, each of the three would be available on at least normal rest to start in Game 2. Buehler and Ryu would both pitch on extra rest if either were to start Saturday.
Meanwhile, being held until Game 3 on Monday at Dodger Stadium, would mean every member of the trio received a couple additional days of rest between starts.
Considering how well Ryu has fared at home, it stands to reason he would be saved for Game 3. And though Buehler endured a rocky inning in his postseason debut, the Dodgers remain fully convinced of his ability to handle a pressure-packed moment.
When the Dodgers faced the Brewers in their first series after the All-Star break, they started Hill, Kershaw and Alex Wood at Miller Park. The Hill and Wood starts were the two games Los Angeles won.
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