After a war of attrition seemingly eliminated several options, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts officially named Hyun-Jin Ryu the club’s Opening Day starter. Clayton Kershaw was initially scheduled to start a ninth consecutive season opener before shoulder inflammation set in.
Like Kershaw, Walker Buehler fell behind other starting pitchers in camp. The Dodgers maintained Buehler was healthy and simply being slow-played, but it was later revealed the right-hander was dealing with a bit of a hangover effect from the 2018 season.
Once Kershaw and Buehler were eventually ruled out as options for Opening Day, it left Rich Hill and Ryu as the likely candidates. Hill may have been the favorite, but he’s due to begin the season on the 10-day injured list because of a sprained left knee.
With Kershaw and Hill unavailable, the Dodgers are filling the vacancies in their starting rotation with Ross Stripling and Julio Urias, respectively.
Stripling, Kenta Maeda and Buehler will follow Ryu in the Dodgers’ rotation for their Opening Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Urias is then scheduled to start the series opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Stripling went 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in seven games (two starts) against the Diamondbacks last season. He allowed 18 hits (three home runs) but also had 10 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched in those games.
Maeda was 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA in his four games (one start) against Arizona in 2018. Buehler didn’t earn a decision in his two starts, pitching to a 2.19 ERA and collecting 14 strikeouts across 12.1 innings.
The Diamondbacks named Zack Greinke their starter for Opening Day but have yet to announce probables for the rest of the four-game series at Dodger Stadium that begins Thursday, March 28.