Now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched their eighth consecutive division championship and will be the top seed in the National League, they can begin to shift their focus towards the postseason.
Perhaps the biggest question that has yet to be answered is what the Dodgers’ starting rotation will look like behind Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. The team’s young starters, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias, have all had strong seasons and are worthy of starting.
May and Gonsolin have outshined Urias a bit, although the southpaw has the most postseason experience of the bunch so that could be a factor as well. Urias was scheduled to make his final start of the season on Wednesday, and what was to come after remains unclear.
“It’s more of having Julio be a part of the conversation as far as how we want to use him, what he feels comfortable with and what is best for us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think he’s earned the right to be part of that conversation. He’s all in for whatever we decide going forward, but I like keeping him involved.
“As a starter, he continues to get better — for me — in the last couple turns. And as a reliever, we’ve seen in short spurts — an inning or two — to then come back and pitch a day or two later, the value of that. We have some good options.”
In 10 starts this season, Urias is 3-0 with a 3.49 ERA, 3.85 FIP and 1.20 WHIP with 40 strikeouts and 16 walks in 49 innings.
Joe Kelly is serving as an opener for the Dodgers on Wednesday night in their fourth bullpen game of the season.
MLB changes number of off days during series
With the MLB postseason taking place in bubbles this year, there won’t be any traveling involved. Because of that, there won’t be any days off for teams in the middle of series.
That changes a lot strategy-wise as the Dodgers may now need all five of their starters in the postseason as opposed to just four. Kershaw has started on short rest before so that is also a possibility, although considering how successful the Dodgers’ starters have been this season, that doesn’t seem necessary.
If the Dodgers opt to go with four starters, Urias may ultimately be the odd man out, not necessarily because of his lack of production, but because he has the most experience and success of the bunch pitching out of the bullpen.
With the recent injury to Caleb Ferguson, the Dodgers could use another lefty in high-leverage situations late in games and Urias could fill that role if needed.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!