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Julio Urías starts Wednesday, with his wild card round role still undecided

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Urías will probably start at some point in the playoffs should the Dodgers advance, but maybe not in the wild card round.

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Julio Urías makes his final start of this regular season for the Dodgers on Wednesday against the A’s, but his role for the wild card round remains undecided.

“He’s all in for whatever we decide going forward, but I like keeping him involved [in the conversation],” manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday. “As a starter, he continues to get better for me in the last couple turns. As a reliever we’ve seen in short spurts for an inning or two, then come back and pitch a day or two later, the value of that. We have some good options.”

With the caveat that the cooperation of a very important blister is still pending, the Dodgers will start Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw in some order in Games 1 and 2 of the wild card round next week. After that, roles are up for grabs in a very fluid situation.

Should the Dodgers advance, the best-of-5 NLDS and best-of-7 NLCS with no in-series off days will necessitate the use of all five of their starters. The depth of the rotation is one of the club’s greatest strengths, with Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and Urías better than likely any other team’s third through fifth starters.

But in the best-of-3 wild card round, you only need one of those three to start, or maybe none of them if the Dodgers decide to overcomplicate things and use a bullpen game. The other two could be used in relief either in Game 3 or earlier in the series, depending how things go.

Of the three, Gonsolin has the best results. He has the best ERA (1.77), best FIP (2.44), highest strikeout rate (26.3%) and lowest walk rate (4.6%). Gonsolin has also allowed only two home runs in 40⅔ innings. He’d be my choice for Game 3 starter for the Dodgers in any series. Whether the team agrees remains to be seen.

Urías is front of mind for bullpen usage in the postseason, because that was his role in each of the last two Octobers. He was a one-inning reliever during 2018 but had a hybrid role in 2019. The results have been mixed, with two scoreless innings in Game 3 of last year’s NLDS, then allowing three runs while recording two outs in Game 4, breaking open a close game. Urías had a 4.50 ERA with five strikeouts in 10 relief appearances in the last two postseasons, though he struck out none of his 15 batters faced last October.

May’s status is much of the same, having also pitched in relief in the 2019 NLDS, though in more of a mop-up role, allowing a run in 3⅓ innings. Like May on Tuesday, Urías won’t be limited or abbreviated in his start on Wednesday. But as for the regular season finale, May could potentially make a shorter appearance, depending on his first-round role, with the wild card series starting next Wednesday.

“His start on Sunday, that’s more of a conversation,” Roberts said Tuesday.

Ferguson has surgery

Caleb Ferguson had his Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, the second time he’s had the procedure. Ferguson, who was one of the Dodgers’ best relievers this season (2.89 ERA, 36-percent strikeout rate, 4-percent walk rate), posted on Instagram after the surgery, which will likely sideline him for the entire 2021 season.

“Surgery was successful this AM and I am doing good,” Ferguson wrote. “Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers as they didn’t go unnoticed. I’ll be watching the boys bring that championship to LA. Road to 2022 starts now!”

Game info

Time: 6:40 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA