Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Walker Buehler will start Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, which will be played Wednesday at Dodger Stadium against a still-to-be-determined opponent. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start Game 2 on Thursday.
“There was not a lot that went into it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the decision. “We just feel that puts us in the best spot in those two games and also going forward. They’re interchangeable. It’s one in the same, to be quite honest.
“We just talked about it and feel really good about that direction. That decision, there’s really not a lot that needed to go into it. We talked about it, debated it, and just feel really confident that both are great options.”
This marks a second year in a row the Dodgers have opened October with Buehler on the mound, and a third consecutive season in which Kershaw was pushed back to Game 2 of the first round. After a dominant regular season, Hyun-Jin Ryu started Game 1 of the National League Division Series in 2018.
In aligning the order Buehler followed by Kershaw, both pitchers will start on an extra day of rest. Roberts also dismissed the notion that Buehler’s recent trouble with a blister on his right index finger was any factor.
Albeit only pitching four innings, Buehler looked sharp last week in his return from the 10-day injured list. Like Kershaw had previously expressed, Buehler downplayed any significance with which postseason game he would start.
“When you’re looking forward to try and win a world championship, to be involved and an important part of that is a big deal to me,” Buehler said. “We want to win and we want to win the whole thing. If I’m important to that, I’ll take that.”
The Dodgers have not announced who would start a potential Game 3 of their Wild Card series. However, Roberts has confirmed Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urias will each be part of the postseason roster.
Dodgers potential Wild Card round opponents
Entering play Sunday, with all teams taking the field at 12:10 p.m., the Dodgers are looking at a scenario where they could face the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants or St. Louis Cardinals in the first round.
Dependent on how the final day of the regular season unfolds, the Cardinals could be looking at a doubleheader on Monday to determine NL playoff seeding.
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