If the season ended this moment — or even about a month ago — Los Angeles Dodgers fans wouldn’t have hesitated to say the postseason rotation should be made up of Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson.
But now, it’s a bit different. First of all, Gonsolin probably isn’t going to be able to return as a starter; his last outing came on Aug. 23 before he landed on the injured list (he’s still there) with a forearm strain. It’s unlikely he’ll be built up in time to eat a larger workload.
So what do you do now? How about Dustin May? Eh. he seems better fit for a bullpen role, especially now that he’s injured. Do the Dodgers give Andrew Heaney a postseason start? Are they bullpenning games? Is there some scenario we’re forgetting?
Wait a second … what in the world is the plan if the Dodgers potentially remove another from the equation? That’s apparently on the table.
Per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, there’s been “hesitancy from the Dodgers” in starting Tyler Anderson in a postseason series!
Will Tyler Anderson seriously not be a postseason starter for the Dodgers?
"“To put it simply, [Anderson] doesn’t miss enough bats, which means his actual results aren’t as strongly supported by his underlying metrics. His whiff rate entering Thursday is in the 35th percentile. His strikeout rate is in the 24th percentile. And although he’s been as good as anyone in limiting hard contact this year, balls in play allow for less predictable outcomes in October than strikeouts do. That’s why there’s some hesitancy from the Dodgers in starting him in a postseason series, along with the fact that he’s as capable as any of their starters in taking on a multi-inning relief role and thriving in it.”"
Then, on Sunday, manager Dave Roberts confirmed Anderson will be getting an NLDS start, which suggests he’ll be in the postseason rotation … because again, who else?!
Thankfully, the mailbag situation didn’t create too much hysteria and Roberts’ comments came shortly after to give fans clarification … but now it’s worth wondering about the No. 4 starter.
Heaney? He’s become the old version of himself the last month or so. Gonsolin’s “ceiling” will be maxing out at four innings. May is a “possibility” for a bullpen role, meaning his spot on the playoff roster is hardly solidified.
So that leaves the bullpen for a possible Game 4 situation — or at least a piggyback-type deal should Heaney/May/Gonsolin serve as a multi-inning opener. An already-thin bullpen having to provide that kind of relief upwards of 3-4 times throughout the postseason?
We’ll need Roberts to clarify that at some point, too.