As the Los Angeles Dodgers embarked on their eight-game road trip, the front office knew certain aspects ahead of time. With three days off in a span of eight days, the team elected to go with four starters over the trip, to maximize the number of starts by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Mat Latos was pushed to the bullpen and will now rejoin the rotation starting on Saturday.
Now that the team finished their trip with a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, they head back to Dodger Stadium, with a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs. That series would mark the final one before the 40-man roster expansion occurs during the series against the San Francisco Giants.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, manager Don Mattingly may use an extra starter in September:
We could slip a starter in there, we’ve talked about that,” Mattingly said on Thursday. “There’s a possibility of that one time at some point.”
The consideration would be a bold move, but well thought out. The main concern behind the proposition would be to give the pitching staff, mainly Greinke and Kershaw, an extra day off during the contested pennant race and with just two days off in September.
Some possible candidates to make an appearance would be Mike Bolsinger, Ian Thomas, Eric Stults, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland. The most accomplished of the group would have to be Bolsinger, who was brought to the rotation and had success during his extended stint. In 16 starts, Bolsinger went 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 133 ERA+, and 1.24 WHIP. The 27-year-old is scheduled to start on Saturday for Triple-A Oklahoma City, the same day that Latos is scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers.
Once the Dodgers begin their six-game home stand against the Cubs, the team will be on a grind throughout the rest of the season. The team has 16-consecutive games before their next day off on September 10. The team plays six more games after that before their last off day on September 17. The Dodgers then play 17 straight games before the regular season concludes on October 4.