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Dodgers announce starting rotation for NLCS

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MLB: NLCS-Workouts Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There was almost zero question as to who would get the start in game one of the NLCS. Before the series even started, it was announced Clayton Kershaw would get the nod on Friday.

With this decision set, it was unclear who would follow in the remaining games. On Thursday, Dave Roberts announced who will be starting in games two through four.

Getting the start in Game 2 will be Hyun-Jin Ryu. This comes as a bit of a surprise, as Ryu has been lights out at Dodger Stadium. On the road, Ryu had a 3.58 ERA, compared to a 1.15 ERA while at home.

On Wednesday, Roberts was asked whether or not he would take that into consideration. “We understand that he has pitched better at home this year than on the road,” Roberts said. “He’s a veteran pitcher that regardless of where we decide he pitches, we expect him to throw the baseball well. We’re confident that whenever he pitches he’s going to pitch well.”

Taking the ball in Game 3 will be Walker Buehler. The rookie made one start against the Brewers this season. Back on July 31, Buehler allowed one run in seven innings while striking out seven.

Roberts discussed what the thought process was that went into deciding the rotation.

“The thought process is Hyun-Jin pitched Game 1 in the DS, and not to give him the two extra days to not pitch Game 2 and then to pitch Game 3, so I think that to keep him as current as possible, to keep him going,” Roberts said.

“He’s pitching really well. And then also just to give Walker just a couple extra days on the front end to get him ready. So we just felt that Clayton starting Game 1, Hyun-Jin going Game 2, and then Walker, gives each of these guys the best chance to perform at their best.”

Game 4 duties go to Rich Hill. In two starts versus Milwaukee this year, Hill allowed two runs, with 13 strikeouts in 12 innings.

With the Dodgers announcing their starting rotation, the Brewers released their starters as well. Surprisingly, Gio Gonzalez will be getting the nod in Game 1, not Jhoulys Chacín like many expected. With Wade Miley going in Game 2, the Brewers will throw lefties for the first two games.

“I know that those guys have a process in place on how they want to approach the series,” Roberts said on Milwaukee throwing back-to-back lefties. “So we were kind of open to whatever direction they were going to go as far as starting pitching. As far as our lineup, it’ll be somewhat similar to [Sean] Newcomb. I might tweak a thing or two, just because you also have to combat and prepare against those guys deploying their guys in the pen.”

Craig Counsell talked about what went into his decision to start Gonzalez in Game 1.

“So with Gio we just -- we like the matchup,” Counsell said. “We like the matchup against their lineup. And you know, we talked about -- look, it’s no secret that we’re going to use our pitching a little differently than traditionally, than the traditionalists would like. And so for us the first matchup that we liked was Gio on the mound. We’re asking Gio to go out there and get a bunch of outs. How many, you know, we’ll just see how it goes.”

With Jhoulys Chacin slated to start Game 3, there’s still a chance he pitches in game one.

“Yeah, I mean look, I will tell you Jhoulys is available in Game 1,” Counsell said. “At this point I think the Game 3 starter is penciled in. It’s likely to be Jhoulys, but he’s also -- he’s available to pitch tomorrow, for sure.”

Game 1 is Friday at 5:09 p.m. PT on FS1.