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Dodgers Set Rotation for Reds Series, Won’t Avoid Potential Wild Card Matchups



The 2021 regular season is quickly coming to a close, but the Dodgers have yet to catch the Giants for first place in the NL West. That cause was aided some by the return of Clayton Kershaw on Monday, who went 4.1 innings in his first game back on Monday night.

With Kershaw returning, it gives the team more options as they plan out their rotation options to end the season. With matchups against both the Reds and the Padres (two potential Wild Card opponents) looming, there was some expectation that the Dodgers might rearrange their starters to avoid giving them another look at guys like Scherzer and Buehler. But prior to Monday’s game, Dave Roberts told Bill Plunkett of the OC Register that the team wasn’t looking to do that.

That’s a fair question, but no. We’re going to keep guys in their same slots and expect to win every game remaining on the schedule.

If that’s the case, the Dodgers rotation will look as follows for their upcoming 3-game series against the Reds:

  • Walker Buehler on Friday
  • Max Scherzer on Saturday
  • Clayton Kershaw on Sunday

Having Kershaw back helps lengthen this Dodgers rotation, as does the return of Tony Gonsolin. With both pitchers back and able to eat up some innings, the team should be able to deploy a much more consistent rotation for the final few weeks of the season.

Related: Max Scherzer Thrilled to Finally Watch Clayton Kershaw Pitch

One thing to note regarding the starting rotation; if everything goes according to plan and the Dodgers pitch their starters on normal rest the rest of the way, that would line up Julio Urías, Walker Buehler, and Max Scherzer for the last series of the season against the Padres. This would not only allow the Dodgers to start their best pitchers in what may be the most critical series this year, but it would also set up Clayton Kershaw for a potential Wild Card game should they find themselves outside of first place after game 162. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.

NEXT: Danny Duffy Likely Done, Why CT3 is Slumping, Good Pollock News, LA Miss On DJ Peters?

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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  1. And yet even if Dodgers win 100+ games and still find themselves having to play that one and done game, an inconsistent offense that sees the opponent out score them and their season would be over. It would be a shame seeing a team with fewer wins at end of regular season sending a 100+ win team home after just 1 game. Hopefully MLB fixes that for next CBA .

      • It’s the Collective Bargain Agreement between MLB and the MLBPA. (Player’s Association). And the current CBA expires on Dec. 1 So there will be several bargain sessions to be sure. Inane new agreement there better be the Universal. DH.

      • I am thinking do not start Kershaw for Wild Card. I hate to say it but with Kershaws postseason struggles they shall use buehler or Scherzer

        • Dodgers have literally 3 aces plus Kersh they can throw at the WC team visiting Dodger Stadium. FO and doc will take into account analytics, splits, etc. and select the best starter to go for that game.

        • The difference between Kershaw and Scherzer as I see it is athleticism. Scherzer is older, throws harder and at this stage, is a much better pitcher than Kersh. Kersh is bigger, runs like a Mack truck with four flat tires. Both are sure fire HOF’ers…but if I need to win one game, Scherzer starts that game.

      • Collective Bargaining Agreement. Contrary to popular belief, MLB is not made up of 30 teams. There’s the owners and MLBPA – the players. These 2 sides have to agree to terms, rules, etc. for there to be a season.

    • The only way Roberts blows the Wild card game will be to pitch Kershaw. The Reds/Cards can’t hit Sherzer, and with Pollock back and Seager the stud that he is in big games, we’ll win. The Padres if you haven’t noticed will now start their fall hard into nothingness. The Reds play the Pirates 6 times while the Pads get the Vagiants/Cards Vagiants again etc. Good night San Diego….

  2. As for the article topic, I am glad to see Dodgers still throwing everything at their opponent down the stretch. We can catch the gnats if they lose a few games before end of the season. If not, we’ll be heavily favored as the home team wild card and next stop – division series.

  3. I think the writer forgot about the Brewers series after the Padres. So following the Padres series with Urias-Buehler-Scherzer, the Brewers series will be Kershaw-Gonsolin-Urias, thus setting up Buehler for the potential WC game.

  4. And when the Dodgers are officially eliminated from the division race, Roberts could just do a couple throw away games to rest everyone in the Brewers series. Roberts has that technique DOWN….

    • Exactly Kirk! Remember the last series in SF in 2016? Roberts did that what ya said for those 3 games but that year Dodgers were so bad against LHP that Giants threw 3 LH starters at them and Dodgers were swept, which allowed Giants to get in as the 2nd wild card.

    • You mean with all the ‘rest’ that Roberts has been giving everyone all year that put the Dodgers in this hole, they still need more?

  5. The best fix would be one wild card in each league. That can never happen as their goal is to have as many teams as possible in the running for a WC during the last week.

  6. The way Gonsolin is pitching tonight, Kershaw might find himself in the bullpen in the playoffs.

  7. Scherzer is lined up to start wild card game on normal rest. Season doesn’t end against Padres, it ends against Brewers. On normal rest, Kershaw, Gonsolin and Urias would pitch in that series, leaving Scherzer ready to go in wild card game on normal rest.

  8. No if Kershaw Gonsolin and Urias finish last three games than Buhler pitches the wild card and that’s good news cause I rather have Buhler or Urias in the big game cause Scherzer is 7 and 5 with 3.38 ERA in post season.

  9. No way, no how should Kershaw be set up to start the wildcard game. That would be one of the most foolish things in the history of Dodger baseball. It is a must win game. It should not be entrusted to a pitcher whose velocity is down, is susceptible to the long ball, and who is not shown he is better than a 3.0 era pitcher this season.

  10. No worries Jr, Roberts would never put Kershaw in a situation like that! Or would he keep him in too long if he found trouble, he always would make sure he had Baez ready to go!!!! Everyone calm down , JT just said he wants to win another one for Roberts. So all I can say JT is “Please manage the team and only then, will you have a chance”….

  11. Baseball should do this to make it more entertaining and fairer for the good of the game.

    Do away with the Divisions! Have everyone in the league on one table like soccer. Rest the top two teams in the playoffs and gave the seeded teams 3-6 play in 5 game playoff series, with the bottom two seeds playing the top two seeds in the next round.

    For Example if season ends as the standings are now you’d have:

    1- Giants – Bye
    2- Dodger – Bye
    3- Milwaukee – 1st WC seed
    4- Atlanta – 2nd WC seed
    5- St. Louis – 3rd WC seed
    6- Cincinnati – 4th WC seed

    Wild Card lineup:

    Milwaukee vs Cincinnati (WC1 vs WC4)
    Atlanta vs St. Louis (WC2 vs WC3)

    Say Milwaukee and Atlanta advance as winners, then the NLDS would be the following:

    San Francisco vs Atlanta (Seed 1 vs Seed 4)
    Los Angeles vs Milwaukee (Seed 2 vs Seed 3)

    This way great teams with superior records won’t be on the outside looking in and it would still make for great races to get the best seeding for playoff positions.

  12. If by some slim chance the Dodgers are still in contention to catch up with the Giants near the end of the regular season, then the series vs the Brewers will loom large. But the most likely scenario as most here has pointed out, is that the Dodgers play the WC game vs either the Reds/Cards/Padres. Then if the Dodgers win the WC, they end up playing the Giants in the divisional series. Even if the Dodgers end up on top of the NL West Division and the Giants end up being the WC winner—they’ll still play each other in the first round playoff series. Of course the WC game carry some risk—that’s why winning the NL West is the preferred outcome but is no longer assured for the Dodgers.

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