Thursday is the Dodgers’ third off day in the last eight days, but that’s just the calm before the storm. Beginning Friday, the Dodgers play 31 games in a 31-day stretch.
MLB’s lockout wiped out the opening week of the original schedule, with those first two series spread throughout the year. That includes an upcoming split doubleheader on May 17 against the Diamondbacks during this guantlet stretch, with May 19 the only off day in this stretch for Los Angeles.
Contrast that with the Dodgers’ six off days over the first 29 days of the season.
Thirty-one games in thirty-one days begins with a road trip to face the Cubs and Pirates for three games each, which gives us time to revisit Michael Elizondo’s travel guides for both Wrigley Field and PNC Park.
This stretch includes 16 road games and 15 home games. It covers the entirety of the Dodgers’ season series against both the Pirates and Phillies.
Here’s the schedule:
- May 6-8: at Cubs
- May 9-11: at Pirates
- May 12-15: vs. Phillies (4 games)
- May 16-18: vs. D-backs (4 games, including doubleheader)
- May 19: OFF DAY
- May 20-22: at Phillies
- May 23-25: at Nationals
- May 26-29: at D-backs (4 games)
- May 30-June 1: vs. Pirates
- June 2-5: vs. Mets (4 games)
Amazingly, the Dodgers don’t face a team with a current winning record until that final series against the Mets. Then again, that didn’t seem to matter much when the Dodgers lost two of three games to the Diamondbacks in April. Arizona catapulted the end of that series against Los Angeles into seven wins in nine games, making it back to .500 (13-13) with Wednesday’s win.
With so many games bunched together, the pitching staff will surely be taxed. MLB teams can carry 14 pitchers on the active roster through May 29, covering LA’s first 24 games of this stretch. After that, the limit of 13 pitchers takes hold.
How the Dodgers navigate the staff will be key, as will figuring out who pitches the extra game of the doubleheader on May 17, whether a starter gets called up for a spot start or if the team deploys a bullpen game. Or if the Dodgers use a spot starter or bullpen game at some point in the middle to provide extra rest.
Dodgers starting pitchers will be well-rested at the start of this 31-game stretch. Tyler Anderson, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Buehler, in that order, will pitch at Wrigley Field, all three on six days of rest. Thanks to Thursday’s off day, Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin will be on five days rest when they start in Pittsburgh.
Up to now, the Dodgers have started a pitcher on four days rest only six times in 23 games. Let’s see how many times they do so over the next month.