LOS ANGELES — Gavin Stone is widely expected to start on Wednesday against the Phillies, though the Dodgers are treating even the mention of such a thing akin to saying “Macbeth” in a theater.
But when Stone does ultimately get the call on Wednesday, coupled with Thursday’s off day, it allows the Dodgers a chance to reset their rotation, both in providing extra rest and potentially maneuvering the order of the upcoming series against the Padres this weekend in San Diego.
“The net of giving guys an extra day, and how we want to align the rotation all plays a part,” manager Dave Roberts said Monday at Dodger Stadium. “I think it’s just talking to the player performance staff, the training staff, the pitching staff about what makes sense short term and longer term.”
Julio Urías starts Tuesday against the Phillies, and depending on how things play out could also start Sunday night’s series finale at Petco Park on four days rest. The first two games of the series are set up such that Dustin May and Clayton Kershaw would start the first two games. If they remain in order, both would be on six days rest.
May threw 104 pitches in five stressful innings last Friday against the Cardinals, seven more pitches than he’s thrown in any career game. It was also just his 12th start after returning from Tommy John surgery last August, and the Dodgers will be mindful of his innings all season.
“We all sort of get mired in each start. But we have a lot of people that forecast usage, and we’ve still got to be mindful of what Dustin has been through in the last calendar year and a half,” Roberts said. “We pushed him a lot at this point, but if we can at times give him an extra day or two, we feel it can only prove beneficial.”
Having May, Kershaw, and Urías pitch this weekend against the Padres lines things up so that Kershaw and Urías would likely also start against San Diego again the following weekend when the two division rivals meet again in Los Angeles.
Tony Gonsolin on Monday against Philadelphia is pitching on four days rest, as will Urías on Tuesday. That will make 11 starts on four days of rest through 31 games this season. That’s a pace for 57 such starts, after starting on four days rest only 45 times last season.
As the rotation stands at the moment, May is technically slated to start on four days rest Wednesday, though Roberts emphasized that he was “penciled in,” in such a way that made it obvious May won’t be starting until the weekend.
“Would you say it’s not set in Stone?” I asked.
“Good one, Eric,” Roberts said with a smile.