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Walker Buehler to start Game 1 for the Dodgers in NLDS

The same 1-2 punch as the Wild Card series

National League Wild Card Game 1: Milwaukee Brewers v. Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Robert Beck/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, but the Dodgers will be rolling out the same starting rotation in the NLDS that they used in the NLWCS. Walker Buehler will make the start in Game 1 and will be followed by Clayton Kershaw who will make the start in Game 2.

“We’re very pleased,” manager Dave Roberts said when speaking to the media on Sunday afternoon. “First, to get Walker out of that first one feeling good, to be able to make this start in Game 1. The way Clayton threw in Game 2 and to get him back in line as well. That puts us in a great spot.”

Buehler went four innings in his start last week. He allowed two runs on three hits while striking out eight. As he recovers from his blister problems, Roberts is unsure how many innings he expects Buehler to throw on Tuesday or if the Dodgers will plan to have someone piggyback his start.

“Having the few days leading up to this series and a good group of guys in the bullpen is beneficial,” Roberts said. “His finger is in a great place. We’ll keep an eye on him each inning. He’s probably gong to be upset when the time comes [to take him out of the game]. We’re trying to win this start and the next series and have him pitch. I can’t say that it’s a scripted start or when we’re going to deploy our guys in the pen.”

Following in Game 2 will be Kershaw, who delivered arguably the best start of his postseason career last Thursday. He threw eight scoreless innings, striking out 13 Brewers. He was practically un-hittable.

The real question is who gets the start in Game 3. Since the last round was a three-game series, the Dodgers didn’t need to play a third game, and never announced a starter. Though, one could speculate that it would have been Tony Gonsolin. In addition to Gonsolin, the Dodgers also have Dustin May and Julio Urias who could potentially make the start.

“If there’s a Game 3, 4, or 5, there might be a situation where those guys are available in the proceeding days as a side day to then make a start,” Roberts said. “We have a lot of good options.”

With the five-game series consisting of five days, this benefits a team like the Dodgers who is loaded with depth. When asked if he would name a starter for that third game, Roberts said he is going to leave it open for now.

“Each one of those guys is going to be available in Game 1 & 2,” he said. “We’ll see how it plays out. I’m sure one of those guys will take Game 3.”

Other notes

  • The Dodgers haven’t decided on their roster yet, but they are going to make a decision soon. Roberts said the club will likely be adding a pitcher. Dylan Floro is a name we can potentially see replace a position player.
  • In regards to who the position player being sent down will be, Roberts doesn’t know yet either. He hasn’t decided if they want to carry Keibert Ruiz, their third catcher, or the speedster Terrance Gore.
  • Joc Pederson is in the bubble with the team and will be on the roster. There’s been talks over the weeks of Pederson potentially being unavailable, but it’s good to see he’s with his family in the bubble.