Dodgers could shuffle starting rotation with off days

Harry How

With a pair of upcoming off days, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly could change the order of his starting pitching rotation if he so chooses.

Beginning with Chad Billingsley's start on Wednesday night, the Dodgers now have five starting pitchers on the active roster. If manager Don Mattingly has any plans to reorder his rotation, we'll find out in about a week.

Like their home series last week against the Pirates, the Dodgers have an off day both before and after their series in Baltimore against the Orioles from Apr. 19-21. The rotation is set through the Dodgers' next two series, in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks, and at home against the Padres, but with off days on Apr. 18 and Apr. 22 manager Don Mattingly has options should he choose to shuffle the deck.

"If there is going to be any moving, it will be around that Baltimore series," Mattingly said.

We know the planned rotation for the next six days:

  • Friday: Clayton Kershaw at Arizona
  • Saturday: Hyun-jin Ryu at Arizona
  • Sunday: Josh Beckett at Arizona
  • Monday: Chad Billingsley vs. San Diego
  • Tuesday: Zack Greinke vs. San Diego
  • Wednesday: Kershaw vs. San Diego

If the Dodgers remain in order in Baltimore, they could throw Ryu, Beckett, and Billingsley against the Orioles, then after the off day on Apr. 22 start the rotation over again with Kershaw and Greinke, the planned one-two punch at the top of the rotation. But that would mean giving Greinke seven days rest when he could just as easily start the series finale in Baltimore on Apr. 21 on regular rest, which would require skipping someone else.

The rotation order doesn't matter much outside of the postseason and outside of the All-Star break there aren't too many in-season opportunities to make drastic changes. Mattingly often likes to use off days to give extra rest to his starters, but on this current turn through the rotation all five Dodgers starters are already pitching on five days rest.

With these pair of off days coming up, it will be interesting to see how the Dodgers handle their starting five.

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