Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart are scheduled to start the next two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. That will complete a streak of four straight rookie pitchers (Kenta Maeda today, Jose De Leon yesterday) who will have started a game with the Dodgers nursing a small lead in the National League West standings.
What’s more, the Dodgers are scheduled to use a different starting pitcher in all six games they will play this week.
However, things are about to get normal. (Normal-ish, at least.) After an off-day Thursday, the Dodgers travel to Miami to kick off a 10-game road trip. Here are the probable matchups for that series:
Marlins manager Don Mattingly hasn’t officially announced his starting pitchers for the series — Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has — but that’s how they line up. It’s worth taking a second to appreciate that probable Friday matchup. Despite missing all of July and August, Kershaw ranks second in the National League according to FanGraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement. Fernandez ranks third.
For the Dodgers, the rotation is lined up so that Kershaw, Hill and Maeda can start the Sept. 19-21 series against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium, and the season-ending series in San Francisco Sept. 30-Oct. 2.
Kershaw is also lined up to pitch Sept. 14 at Yankee Stadium and Sept. 24 against the Colorado Rockies — his final home start of the regular season. He’d make a total of five starts before the playoffs if this rotation holds.
The plan is less obvious for the Dodgers’ number-four and -five starters. Stewart, Stripling and De Leon will all have started games this week. Julio Urias is currently in the bullpen. Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy are currently out on minor league rehab assignments.
Roberts either couldn’t or didn’t want to reveal his rotation beyond Sunday.
“It’s up in the air because of Kazmir,” he said. “We’ve got Kaz making a start at Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Depending on how that goes, there’s some things up in the air. Obviously Jose did a lot for himself, reinforced that confidence we have in him.”
In any event, the Dodgers’ first, second and third starters are healthy and penciled in to start the key September series. It isn’t hard to envision their plans for a possible postseason rotation. The rest will sort itself out, as they say, but right now “the rest” doesn’t encompass a lot.
For the Dodgers, that’s progress.