Moments before the series finale against the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon, skipper Dave Roberts told reporters his plans regarding the Dodgers starting rotation for the weekend, which will feature a three-game set against the Reds to conclude the current homestand.
Veteran lefty Rich Hill will take the mound on Friday evening, followed by southpaw Alex Wood on Saturday and left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu on Sunday. The Reds tentatively intend on starting lefty Amir Garrett in the opener, right-hander Asher Wojciechowski in Saturday night’s contest and righty Tim Adleman in the finale.
In an interesting development during the same news conference, Roberts also indicated that right-hander Kenta Maeda will serve as the long man in the bullpen this weekend, most likely being utilized in succession with either Hill or Wood.
Wood will need to be reinstated to the 25-man roster after being placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 29 with SC joint inflammation in his neck/upper-back area. Before his absence, he went 6-0 with a 1.69 ERA in eight starts over 10 games. His 25-1/3 scoreless inning streak, the longest in the majors this season, will still be intact upon his return to the bump.
A corresponding roster move will need to be made by the Dodgers before Wood is officially activated.
After a relatively rough start to his 2017 campaign, Maeda temporarily leaves the rotation in hopes of honing his skills in the bullpen. Over 52-1/3 innings pitched in 10 starts this year, Maeda has posted a 5.16 ERA and a 4.36 FIP, with 53 strikeouts, 17 walks and nine home runs surrendered.
In other intriguing news, Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com mentioned in his column on Tuesday that the Dodgers are likely to pursue pitching help for both the rotation and the bullpen before the trade deadline approaches at the end of July.
“The Dodgers entered this week’s showdown series against the Nationals with the best team ERA in Major League Baseball,” Morosi wrote. “However, executives around the game expect Los Angeles to pursue pitching upgrades — starters and relievers — before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.”
Morosi specified several key factors for his reasoning, including the injury histories of several pitchers in the current rotation, the availability of funds to the club, and the need to take some of the postseason piching pressure off the shoulders of staff ace Clayton Kershaw.
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