Dodgers’ Dave Roberts says team could user ‘opener’ in the playoffs

By Vincent Frank
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers head into Tuesday’s slate with a 97-54 record and boasting a real chance to earn home-field advantage throughout the National League Playoffs.

It’s been yet another banner regular season for Dave Roberts squad. However, it’s now all about how this team performs in October after it failed to live up to postseason expectations over the past several years.

Roberts touched on that briefly ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. In particular, the manager was asked about how his rotation might look during the divisional round. Roberts provided a rather interesting response.

As you likely already know, Hill suffered an injury in his return to action last week. He’s not going to be ready to return for the start of the playoffs.

This puts the Dodgers in somewhat of a precarious situation for a team bound to win 100-plus games. They will obviously throw Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler out there to start the first-round series.

The question here becomes whether Kenta Maeda starts an hypothetical Game 4 or the Dodgers go with him as more of a non-traditional opener. He’s pitched five innings or less in his previous five outings. Los Angeles could also make it a bullpen game completely.

Of course, this is all dependent on a first-round series actually going to a fourth game. Given the Dodgers’ domination this season, that’s not a foregone conclusion. It’s still something to keep an eye on.