The Dodgers left AT&T Park on Saturday afternoon with a pair of contingency plans crafted for the two possible outcomes of Colorado’s game against Washington.
If the Rockies lost, which would force a tie in the National League West, then Walker Buehler would start the Dodgers’ regular-season finale against San Francisco.
If the Rockies won, which would maintain their one-game lead in the division, then Rich Hill would start. Buehler would be holstered in case the Dodgers needed him for either Game 163 on Monday in Los Angeles or the wild-card game Tuesday.
“We’ll see what happens in that Colorado game,” Roberts said as his players celebrated clinching a playoff berth with a 10-6 victory over San Francisco. “And see where we’re at after that.”
The Dodgers had initially reshuffled their rotation so Clayton Kershaw and Buehler could start the final series and stay on schedule to pitch in the National League Division Series. Those plans were complicated when the Dodgers dropped a series to Arizona earlier this week and allowed the Rockies to jump ahead in the standings.
Given Buehler’s ability, the Dodgers want to maximize his value. His presence would carry more weight in an elimination game Tuesday than in a situation Sunday where the team still needed a loss by Colorado to even force a tiebreaker Monday.
Buehler has been the Dodgers’ best pitcher in the second half. He has a 2.21 ERA in 12 outings since the break. He was electric in September, with 42 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings.
Hill has struggled in the season’s final month. He has given up five home runs in four starts while posting a 5.09 ERA. Hill threw a light bullpen session Saturday morning but indicated he could pitch Sunday if needed.
“I don’t know,” Hill said. “I’m waiting to find out what happens with the Rockies game.”