Dodgers Openers ...
Yes, the Dodgers plan to use openers. We don't like it. Though they've worked out more times than not in 2023, they just never seem to be a winning formula in the postseason, something the Dodgers have experienced multiple times.
If the Dodgers plan to use Pepiot or Sheehan for four or more innings, expect an opener to kick off the proceedings for the two right-handers. Stuck with one just lefty starter, expect Roberts to utilize Caleb Ferguson if the opponent has two or more lefties atop the order in an attempt to neutralize them right off the bat.
But again, this makes an already chaotic bullpen situation even more chaotic. Take Ferguson, for example. He's one of three lefties in the bullpen, with Yarbrough and Alex Vesia as the others. Yarbrough won't be coming in to face two or three lefties in the eighth inning of a tight game. There's still an argument for Vesia to not even make the postseason roster. Using Ferguson that early hurts you for later in the game.
Take Brusdar Graterol as another example. He's the best Dodgers reliever this year, pitching to a 1.24 ERA, 3.09 FIP and 1.00 WHIP in 66 games. Using him in the first creates a more wobbly bridge to Evan Phillips in a save situation. Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly have been good as of late since coming off the IL, but they've both seen limited action for LA this year.
The Dodgers will have to do what they have to do, but the pitfalls are easy to spot on the surface for using an opener.