The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the deepest pitching staffs in the league, but as it currently stands, there are some question marks going into the postseason.
Perhaps the biggest is who their fourth starter will be in October as there are a number of different candidates, including Rich Hill, Dustin May, Kenta Maeda, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias.
Barring injuries to Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler, only one of the other aforementioned pitchers will start, meaning the rest will likely appear out of the bullpen.
May is one of those that will likely be used in relief, and because of that, the Dodgers plan to utilize him in that role during the home stretch of the regular season so he can begin to get familiar with it.
The rookie has been a starter his entire life so isn’t yet accustomed to coming out of the bullpen. When the Dodgers first called up May, he made three starts before they tested him as a relief pitcher against the Atlanta Braves.
He allowed four runs in two innings in that appearances before moving back to the rotation for a start against the San Diego Padres in order to give the rotation an extra day of rest between outings.
May’s next appearance is set for Sunday’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has not decided if he will start or come out of the bullpen.
“Obviously that’s Dustin’s turn, so I do expect Dustin to log a lot of innings,” Roberts said. “Just don’t know how we’re going to deploy him. It could change. We’re well aware that’s his day.”
In seemingly each of his starts, May has run out of gas and allowed runs in the sixth inning. So one option for the Dodgers in October could be to start May, but cap him at four or five innings and then go to someone like Hill, who is returning from injury and may not have the time to get fully built up to start in the postseason.
Before Roberts and the Dodgers front office make any decisions, they are going to exhaust all options in the month of September to see who fits best in what role. Hence why they continue to move May back and forth between the rotation and bullpen.
For his part, the 21-year-old has expressed a willingness to contribute in any role necessary.