Dodgers weigh options for potential win-or-go-home game

Walker Buehler is slated to start Sunday’s regular season finale, but could the Dodgers push the rookie back?
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers know this much: They have a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park this weekend. Beyond that remains a mystery as the National League West and wild card races remain heated.

Los Angeles sits a game behind Colorado in the division and two games ahead of St. Louis for the second wild card. There are multiple possibilities in play. The uncertainty could impact how the Dodgers handle their pitching this weekend.

Walker Buehler is slated to start Sunday’s regular season finale, but could the Dodgers push the rookie back if they’re still a game behind the Rockies on Sunday? To save him for either a Game 163 tiebreaker for the division title Monday in Los Angeles if they win Sunday, or for the wild card game on Tuesday if they lose?

“We have some options,” manager Dave Roberts said before Friday’s game. “And we don’t have to make a decision right now. Things can change. Whatever gives us the best chance in the now and kind of moving forward. We got to think through every option.”


If Buehler pitches Sunday, Rich Hill will be available to start the Dodgers’ next game — if there is one — Monday or Tuesday. Los Angeles also could go with a “bullpen game.” Another factor: The Dodgers would have a 40-man roster Monday because it would be considered a regular season game. The roster would dwindle down to the usual 25 for a wild card game.

If the Dodgers win the division, this weekend or after winning a tiebreaker against the Rockies on Monday, Clayton Kershaw is in line to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series. Buehler would start Game 2 if he isn’t used Monday or Tuesday. Of course, the Dodgers have to get there first. It all depends on this weekend.

Turner back in lineup

Justin Turner was in the lineup Friday, batting second and playing third base, two days after bruising his left thumb against Arizona. X-rays revealed no damage.


Roberts joked that he avoided asking Turner if the thumb was OK.

“I did it on purpose not to check on him,” Roberts said. “So hopefully no news is good news. He’s in the lineup.”

Twitter: @jorgecastillo