LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers will start a pair of veterans coming off injuries to open their series with the Rockies. Brett Anderson was already named the starter for Thursday’s opener, and on Wednesday manager Dave Robert said Scott Kazmir will start on Friday night.
Kazmir last pitched for the Dodgers on Aug. 22 and was diagnosed with thoracic spine inflammation.
"In talking with [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] and talking to Scott, he feels good and he's in a good place. We have to see what we have with him. He's a guy we have high expectations for, and we have all season," Roberts said. "It's been a tough year for him, but where he's at we're confident he can regain his form and pitch well for us."
Kazmir has a 4.59 ERA in 25 starts for the Dodgers this season, with 134 strikeouts and 52 walks in 135⅓ innings. He’s in the first season of a three-year, $48 million contract.
"Kaz hasn't been healthy, but I have complete confidence in our training staff and in Kaz that he feels good enough to give us a chance to win," Roberts said. "His track record has to be given some credit and some acknowledgment."
Kazmir threw 60 pitches in his last simulated game, and Roberts mentioned Kazmir would be expected to throw roughly 90 pitches on Friday, though that has been the standard answer pretty much all year for these starts.
"I'll manage it according to stressful innings and how the stuff looks.," Roberts said.
Roberts said the Dodgers will see how these starts go for Anderson and Kazmir before determining when they start next, if at all. But ultimately what this is is a tryout of sorts to be the Game 4 starter in the postseason, though Roberts said the games themselves were also important.
"It's about trying to win those baseball games," Roberts said. "Brett hasn't been right the last couple times, but as I understand it he was right [on Friday], and the ball was doing what it was supposed to be doing."
Anderson allowed one run in five innings last Friday for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Roberts said Jose De Leon and Brock Stewart are still under consideration to start. But the decision on who makes the playoff roster might not be decided until up to the point when rosters need to be turned in to the league office, which for the NLDS would be Thursday morning, Oct. 6.
"Brock has been very good for us, and he's still in the mix. He has been open to adapting to whatever role," Roberts said. "It's a constant evaluation. We're still trying to sift through decisions and evaluate on how guys performed.
"I don't think the calendar stops until the last day you set the roster."
It sounds like Ross Stripling, should he make the playoff roster, would do so in a relief role.
"What I like about Stripling, in either role, is his pitch mix. He has different weapons to get hitters out lefty or righty," Roberts said. "He can throw a strike when he needs to."
Clayton Kershaw starts Saturday for the Dodgers, on regular four days rest. Nothing has been set beyond then, though Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda are tentatively expected to follow in order, which would mean Hill Sunday and Maeda Tuesday.
"As we get closer and see how the first few days of the Rockies series plays out, things could change. But for now, that's the plan," Roberts said.