Austin Barnes is appears much smaller than his teammates, who are standing on the pitchers’ mound during a workout at Dodger Stadium on Monday. The Dodgers held a workout at Dodger Stadium in preparation for their National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, which begins Friday in Washington, D.C. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed the team’s roster for the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, which begins Friday. Our first and second guesses were both wrong.
Clayton Kershaw will start Game 1 of the Dodgers’ National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals on Oct. 7. Rich Hill will pitch Game 2 on Oct. 7 followed by Kenta Maeda in Game 3 on Oct. 10.
The Nationals have yet to announce their rotation, only that they’re unlikely to have right-hander Stephen Strasburg available for the first round.
The location of each game is still to be determined. The Nationals began the day with a one-game lead in the battle for homefield advantage. Each team has six games left to play in the regular season.
Kershaw has started Game 1 of every playoff series the Dodgers have participated in since the 2009 National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the starting assignment for a possible Game 4 is to be determined, with Julio Urias one of many possible candidates.
Update (6:20 p.m.): Roberts said that Kershaw, Hill and Maeda will start Games 1, 2 and 3 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals in that order. The starting assignment for Game 4 is to be determined. Maeda wanted two starts before the regular season ends, not one, which is why he’s starting tonight and not tomorrow.
Roberts discussed his season-ending rotation Tuesday afternoon:
Jose De Leon (left) and Kenta Maeda (right) will switch spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. (Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO — Kenta Maeda will start tonight and Jose De Leon will start tomorrow against the Padres in a swap of starting assignments.
Maeda, who is 16-9 with a 3.20 earned-run average this season, last pitched six days ago. He allowed two earned runs in five innings that day against the Giants at Dodger Stadium, striking out six batters in an eventual 9-3 win.
Maeda has been excellent in 12 starts on five days’ rest this season — 6-3 with a 2.79 ERA, compared to 10-6 with a 3.46 ERA in his other 18 starts.
That could be the thinking driving the decision to switch the two pitchers. De Leon, 2-0 with a 5.52 ERA in three major league starts, last pitched Sept. 18, when he was tagged for six runs in 3 ⅔ innings in Arizona.
The switch also affords Maeda an opportunity to start in the regular season finale Sunday in San Francisco should the Dodgers choose. Had he started Wednesday, that would not have been an option for a pitcher who’s never started on fewer than four days’ rest this season (if not his entire career).
What’s more, Maeda is due a $1.5 million performance bonus for starting 32 games this season. Tonight marks his 31st start this year. He’s already unlocked $8.65 million in performance bonuses this season, and will get another $250,000 if he pitches at least one inning tonight, giving him 170 for the season.