Even with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood both on the 10-day disabled list at present time, the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation is in good standing. The group is gaining Ross Stripling back from the DL for Thursday’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies.
With the return of Stripling, the Dodgers are back to having a full stable of starting pitchers. However, the picture may soon become convoluted.
Ryu has completed two rehab starts and Wood successfully pitched in a simulated game on Wednesday. Either, or both, conceivably could return within the next week or two.
If the Dodgers face a scenario where they have a surplus of starters, manager Dave Roberts ruled out expanding to a six-man rotation, and instead said the organization would face the difficult task of deciding on five starters, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“A lot of good pitchers, a lot of good options,” said manager Dave Roberts, who insisted a six-man rotation is not one of the options. “Tough decisions coming. It’s a high-class problem.”
Los Angeles briefly used a six-man starting rotation to account for playing 17 consecutive days out of the All-Star break. They utilized a similar strategy down the stretch of the 2017 season.
Outside of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Ryu, the club could go in multiple directions with rounding out their rotation in the weeks ahead.
Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Stripling and Wood all have experience — and varying levels of success — in pitching out of the bullpen. If taking into account recent results, Stripling and Wood might be the most likely candidates to get bumped out.
Of course, the Dodgers haven’t yet needed to sort through an abundance of starters, and if that trend continues, circumstances will dictate how the matter plays itself out.