With less than a full week before the beginning of the 2021 season, more hints are being revealed regarding the makeup of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, including the pitching rotation order that will throw against the Rockies.
While we still don’t know who the club’s fifth starter will be, we were told that Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias will throw in the opening series in Denver, in that order, leaving the fifth starting spot up for grabs between veteran David Price, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin.
Another thing we learned of late is that the club will carry 13 pitchers and 13 position players, eliminating the speculation for which players are on the bubble for the club’s final bench spots.
Both outfielder DJ Peters and utility man Sheldon Neuse were among the team’s most recent cuts, essentially assuring that utility men Matt Beaty and Zach McKinstry will both have spots on the team’s active roster.
The bullpen, though, is an entirely different animal. Perhaps the biggest question to ask is whether the odd men out between Price, May and Gonsolin will throw out of the big-league bullpen, or whether at least one of those pitchers will begin the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, continuing to stretch out in a starter’s role.
Last weekend, we discussed Price’s potential inclusion among the relief crew, outlining his most recent appearances out of the bullpen. Accordingly, both May and Gonsolin are no strangers to throwing in relief, either.
Consequently, with young righty Mitch White somewhat slowed by a shoulder impingement at the beginning of spring camp, it might leave Josiah Gray, Andre Jackson, Edwin Uceta, Gerardo Carrillo, and Yadier Alvarez as some of the possible headliners at OKC, should all three of Price, May, and Gonsolin be included on the big-league roster.
As far as the final bullpen spot goes, it could boil down to whether the team intends on carrying one or two lefty relivers, setting up a battle between lefty Scott Alexander and righty Dennis Santana . However, that assumption is also based on the idea that Price, May, and Gonsolin all make the team.
To start the year, the Dodgers could conceivably have two key relievers on the 10-day injured list, joining Tommy Kahnle and Caleb Ferguson on the 60-day. Those candidates are Joe Kelly and Brusdar Graterol, with Graterol reportedly not being too far away from being ready.
Newcomer Corey Knebel was removed from Friday’s contest after he was hit by a comebacker in the mid-section, but manager Dave Roberts didn’t sound too concerned about the issue. The righty reliever is expected to pitch during the Freeway Series and should be ready for the regular season.