LOS ANGELES -- One day after setting their post-break starting rotation, the Dodgers changed course slightly on Thursday, announcing that Clayton Kershaw would get an extra day of rest, pushed to Saturday against the Nationals. That moves Mike Bolsinger, who was originally slated for Saturday, to Friday for the series opener.
The whole point of splitting up Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the first place was to have places to slot Bolsinger and one of Brandon Beachy or Carlos Frias, who haven't been lasting deep into games. Having two short starts on back-to-back days puts undue stress on the bullpen, so the Dodgers are trying to even out the reliever usage a bit.
But even with Kershaw and Greinke remaining on back-to-back days, the Dodgers can still split the relatively short starts by having Beachy start Monday in Atlanta, followed by Brett Anderson on Tuesday. The team hasn't yet announced its plans for the series with the Braves.
The Nationals announced their rotation on Thursday as well, so here's a quick look at the three-game series in Washington D.C.
Friday, 4:05 p.m. (SportsNet LA, MLB Network)
Hitters against Bolsinger his first two times through the order are hitting .230/.284/.286 this season, but the third time through the order are hitting .293/.397/.414 this season. Jordan Zimmermann has nine quality starts in 10 home starts this season, to go with a 2.27 ERA. The Nationals are 7-3 in those games.
Saturday, 1:05 p.m. (SportsNet LA, Fox Sports 1)
Kershaw has nine straight quality starts, allowing 14 runs (11 earned runs) during that span for a 1.53 ERA, to go with 87 strikeouts and 11 walks in 64⅔ innings. Doug Fister's strikeout rate in the last four seasons, beginning in 2012 has gone from 20.4 percent to 18 percent to 14.8 percent, down to 11.1 percent this season. Fister has 31 strikeouts in 64 innings over 11 starts this season, never more than four in any one game.
Sunday, 10:35 a.m. (SportsNet LA, TBS)
Greinke takes his 35⅔-scoreless-inning streak into the series finale, looking for a sixth straight scoreless start. Nobody in baseball has more starts of at least seven innings (14) or at least eight innings (seven) this season than Max Scherzer, who is averaging 7⅓ innings per start in his first season back in the National League since 2009.
The Dodgers are on national television for all three games against the Nationals in addition to SportsNet LA. But the MLB Network broadcast on Friday and the TBS game on Sunday will be blacked out on those stations in the Los Angeles area. Saturday's Fox Sports 1 telecast will not be blacked out.