All week long, most of the discussions around the Dodgers blogosphere have been surrounding the impending 25-man roster for the upcoming NLDS. While the majority of the key decisions certainly have already been made, there are a few spots which have come down to the final series of the regular season, with a few of them involving the prospective starting rotation and bullpen. Unfortunately for the pitchers doing the auditioning, Coors Field isn’t exactly the ideal spot to plead a case.
Lefty starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was thought by many to be in a position to challenge Alex Wood for the No. 4 slot in the NLDS rotation, surrendered five earned runs on six hits—including three long balls—and was chased from the game after completing two full innings on 68 pitches. If this was indeed a final test of sorts for Ryu, the process of making the respective roster decision may have become quite simple.
The Dodgers eventually used five other pitchers in addition to Ryu in the 9-1 drubbing, comprised of the quintet of Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Pedro Baez, Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, all of whom are trying to squeeze themselves onto the 25-man NLDS roster.
Buehler, as he’s done since his big league promotion, showed glimpses of brilliance, however, he is still just a few adjustments away from bringing it all together. The young righty gave up two earned runs on two hits, the biggest being a two-run blast off the bat of Trevor Story in the bottom of the fourth inning. Some models of prospective rosters from other media outlets have Buehler making the playoff squad, but this latest appearance in Denver was not favorable in the least.
Tony Cingrani was also a bit messy, having surrendered two runs of his own, although none were earned thanks to yet another passed ball from catcher Yasmani Grandal. Cingrani now has a 4.32 ERA on the season, but has posted a much better 2.95 mark in 18-1/3 innings since arriving to the Dodgers a short time before the season’s non-waiver deadline back in July.
Baez, Stripling and Stewart, who all seem to be on the outside looking in, took care of business in impressive fashion, but their time on the bump came at a point in the game when the Rockies had the game secured, and were likely playing with minimal intensity when taking their hacks at the dish.
Despite the fireworks from the Colorado bats, the offense of the Dodgers was once again quiet, as the lone run which crossed the plate was by pinch-hitter Trayce Thompson, who scored on a Justin Turner single in the top of the second inning.
Looking at the playoff picture, the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch home field advantage throughout the postseason remains at one, while the Rockies’ magic number to secure the second National League Wild Card berth was reduced to one with the victory.
Resident ace Clayton Kershaw will take the hill for the Dodgers On Saturday in what is expected to be about a five-inning or so tuneup for the NLDS, and will be opposed by Colorado righty German Marquez. First pitch is slated for 5:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.
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