Now that all the dust has settled on the hysteria of the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, fans, players and the coaching staff of the Dodgers presumably feel a bit more confident about the club’s chances in pushing deeper into this year’s postseason. The addition of four-time All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish unquestionably improves a rotation which already leads the majors in ERA, yet many are left wondering which pitchers will get bumped out of the starting crew and which arms will left off the impending playoff roster completely.
General manager Farhan Zaidi stated on Monday evening that he wasn’t exactly certain when Darvish would get his first turn in the Dodgers rotation, however, the general consensus is that the righty will join the squad during its current road trip, most likely when the team begins a three-game series against the Mets in New York this weekend.
Darvish hasn’t appeared in a game since he got hammered on July 26 against the Marlins, when he surrendered 10 earned runs on nine hits and two walks before being yanked after only 3-2/3 innings. Despite that particularly shaky start, Zaidi said he still feels the 30-year-old native of Habikino is in top form.
“We’ve obviously been watching him very closely,” Zaidi explained. “As I mentioned, these conversations have been ongoing for awhile. The quality of the stuff has been there. The velocity, the breaking ball. His health has been good. So we’re not concerned about it at all.”
For the time being, there are thoughts that right-hander Brock Stewart may either be optioned or sent back to the bullpen to make room for Darvish to slide right in. And while staff ace Clayton Kershaw already appears to be on the fast track to a speedy recovery from a back strain, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Dodgers somehow utilize a six-man rotation to ensure sufficient rest to the starting crew, at least for the majority of September.
So, for the weeks leading up to the playoffs, once Kershaw returns to the active roster, the rotation will lineup with CK, Darvish, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, and then a combination of Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu. And while it’s probably safe to assume that Scott Kazmir will not be making any cameos down the stretch run of the season, the same might be said for veteran righty Brandon McCarthy.
It’s just a guess at this point, but it could be possible that Darvish makes his debut for the Dodgers in the series finale against the Mets, which is a nationally televised contest on Sunday evening. As it stands now, Maeda, Stewart and Wood will throw in Atlanta, while Hill and Ryu are set to start the first two games in New York.
(Update: According to David Vassegh of AM570LASPORTS, Darvish will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, and make his debut as a Dodger against the Mets in the opener on Friday evening.)
All three games against the Braves are scheduled for 7:35 p.m. Eastern/4:35 p.m. Pacific first pitches.
Please be sure to check back soon for an analysis on the Dodgers’ new-look bullpen.
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