Dodgers’ postseason pitching staff with Ross Stripling locked in

Ross Stripling - Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Ross Stripling - Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Ross Stripling has been named to the Dodgers’ postseason roster.  What does that mean for the rest of LA’s postseason pitching staff?

In a bit of news that was at least somewhat surprising, Alanna Rizzo announced Tuesday night that Ross Stripling has made the Dodgers’ postseason roster.  While Stripling making the playoff roster is not a big surprise, the announcement so early was the true surprise.  Ross had been scheduled to start Tuesday’s game but was shifted to the bullpen and Caleb Ferguson made the “start” in an opener role.

So with Stripling in the postseason bullpen, what does that mean for the rest of the October pitching staff?  The first takeaway is that it appears the Dodgers are going to use only three starters at least in the NLDS.  If they choose to go outside their big three of Ryu, Kershaw, and Buehler, the fourth game will likely be a bullpen game as it was on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

That would make the NLDS roster that usually contains twelve pitchers, essentially a three-man rotation with nine relievers.  The relievers that are locked in are Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, Julio Urias, Kenta Maeda, Adam Kolarek, and now Ross Stripling.  That leaves just two roster spots remaining in the postseason bullpen.

The possible candidates for those two spots are Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Rich Hill, and Caleb Ferguson.  A few relievers who are likely out of the running are Casey Sadler, Yimi Garcia, and Dylan Floro.  Rich Hill will throw Friday and plans to pitch next Tuesday in San Diego.

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Unless Hill can make a few appearances out of the bullpen before the regular season ends, he is going to have a tough time showing enough to make the NLDS roster.  Rich is altering his mechanics to compensate for a strained knee so not only will he need to make it out of his appearances injury-free (or more injured), he will need to show that he can pitch effectively.

Dustin May is another pitcher who still has something left to prove over the final week-plus of games.  As a reliever, Dustin has made five appearances spanning 6 1/3 innings and posted an ERA of 9.95.  His last three outings have been scoreless although he has worked his way out of trouble.  Another solid week and he could nail down a spot.

Tony Gonsolin will likely nab one of the two final spots as he has continued to pitch effectively in whatever role is asked of him.  Dave Roberts has already said that Gonsolin will be in the pen if he makes the postseason roster.  Tony gave up a pair of runs last night but has been lights out since his debut that was a disaster.  Then there is Caleb Ferguson who has held batters to a .159 average in the second half.

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The Dodgers will likely give Rich Hill every chance to lock down the final spot in their postseason bullpen but if he struggles next week then it will come down to Dustin May or Caleb Ferguson.  LA is in much better shape this season as their potential postseason bullpen features a lot of talent and live arms.  Even the last two pitchers left off the roster will be good replacement options in the event that an injury occurs in the postseason.