LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers plan on sticking with a six-man starting rotation through their series next week with the Giants, manager Dave Roberts said on Thursday. That gives us a rough idea how the schedule for Clayton Kershaw might look for the rest of the season and as the playoffs approach.
The Dodgers play the Giants at AT&T Park for three games beginning Monday night, with Hyun-jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, and Kershaw starting in that order. The Dodgers have an off day next Thursday, ending a stretch of 17 games in 16 days.
Among other things, that means Kershaw won’t pitch in the Nationals series, next weekend (Sept. 15-17) in Washington against a potential playoff opponent.
“I do believe if a team sees a pitcher more, there is a percentage of an advantage. As a hitter I felt that way, I can speak to that,” manager Dave Roberts said. “When you’re talking about Clayton or a Max Scherzer or a Zack Greinke, guys who are elite pitchers who have elite stuff and can play the cat and mouse game and make adjustments, I don’t know if it matters as much. I do know we aren’t trying to manipulate our rotation to avoid or make sure we see certain guys.”
This looks more schedule-related than the Dodgers going out of their way to avoid having the Nationals get a look at Kershaw, who tonight is making just his second start since missing over five weeks with a lower back strain.
The Dodgers will likely return to a five-man rotation starting with the Nationals series, and they have two more off days in the regular season — Sept. 14 and 28, both Thursdays.
Kershaw could presumably pitch on the 13th, the 19th (one extra day thanks to the off day), 24th, then make his final regular season start — tune-up or not — on Sept. 30, the penultimate day of the season. That puts Kershaw in line to have five days rest before starting Game 1 of the NLDS on Oct. 6.
You know, after the Dodgers win the division.