Don Mattingly structures post-break rotation with eye on Giants

Don Mattingly structures post-break rotation with eye on Giants
Dan Haren will start the Dodgers' first game after the All-Star break. (Al Behrman / Associated Press)

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly played coy before Saturday’s game about the way he will set up the rotation after the All-Star break.

He did reveal the rotation: Dan Haren will pitch the first game after the break, followed by Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu; a fifth starter has yet to be decided. But when asked why Haren would start the first game, Mattingly declined to go into detail.

"There's a number of reasons," Mattingly said. "I'm not going to get into the reasons why we're doing everything."

The reason, it appears, is to align the top of the rotation with the Giants series, the third series following the break. The way the rotation is now set up, Kershaw would pitch the Friday game of the series, followed by Greinke and Ryu.

The Giants lost their Saturday game against the Diamondbacks, meaning the Dodgers (52-43) own a half-game lead going into their night game against San Diego. The top of the Dodgers' rotation, and Kershaw in particular, have been excellent. The fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, though, have holes.

Kershaw probably will pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Mattingly said he has been texting with Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny, the National League manager, who asked whether Kershaw and Greinke would be available for an inning. Mattingly told him yes but said he doesn’t know who will be the game’s starter.

The Dodgers face the Cardinals the first series after the break. Mattingly joked that if he were Matheny, he'd throw Kershaw for most of the game so he wouldn't be available the following series. But it is very unlikely Kershaw will pitch more than two innings.

As for the Giants, Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters he wouldn’t reveal his post-break rotation until Sunday. Their ace, Madison Bumgarner, is the Sunday starter, meaning he probably won’t pitch in the All-Star game.

After Mattingly failed to elaborate on his rationale behind the rotation schedule, one reporter pressed whether it had to do with the Giants series.

"We have someone going to pitch there," Mattingly said.

Twitter: @zhelfand