While many fans of the Dodgers already had some theory what the team’s starting rotation would look like come Opening Day, most didn’t have an idea of the actual order.
Indeed, the summer camp has been an unorthodox version of the normal spring training agenda. However, the Dodgers appear to be ahead of the major-league curve with regards to their starters being stretched out.
As it stands, staff ace Clayton Kershaw will throw the regular-season opener against the Giants on Thursday. Righty Ross Stripling appears to be the next in line for Friday’s contest. The logical order following Stripling would be left-handers Julio Urias and Alex Wood, while righty Walker Buehler would assume the final spot, setting himself up to pitch the series opener against the Astros on Tuesday, July 28.
At one point, some pundits felt that young Dustin May might be in a position to contribute to the Opening Day rotation, but Ken Gurnick of MLB.com suggested on Saturday that the young righty could theoretically be used to piggy-back Buehler in Houston, who has yet to be stretched out as much as his rotation mates after a slow start in camp.
Kershaw, Wood and Stripling have already been able to build themselves up to at least five innings, thanks in part to the club’s many intra-squad games.
As far as the schedule over the upcoming days looks, Stripling is set to throw a simulated game on Saturday. 25 year-old righty Mitchell White will start against the Diamondbacks in Sunday’s exhibition game. Urias will start Monday in the second exhibition against Arizona, while Wood will throw a separate sim game on Monday.
Gurnick also reported that Buehler will throw three innings on Wednesday to hitters in another simulated scenario.
In other news on Saturday, the team optioned 26-year-old right-hander Tony Gonsolin after he arrived to camp much later than other members of the pitching staff. Gonsolin was assigned to the practice crew at the University of Southern California, hinting that he could be—along with May—one of the first available starting rotation options in the event of an injury.
In a separate development, skipper Dave Roberts on Saturday said that righty reliever Pedro Baez, who also reported to camp significantly late, threw a bullpen session on Friday. Roberts explained that Baez likely will not pitch in one of the team’s scheduled exhibition games, but he will throw a sim game over the coming days and is expected to be ready for Opening Day.