Dodgers set pitching rotation full of lefties
Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill will start the season-opening series against the San Francisco Giants, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Sunday.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will be the fifth starter. He’ll start the opener of the Dodgers’ first road series, against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers will start all left-handers in that series. The Diamondbacks last season had an OPS of .739 against left-handers and a league-leading OPS of .787 against right-handers.
Kershaw, Wood, Maeda, Hill and Ryu combined to make 126 starts last season; each spent time on the disabled list. Kershaw’s 27 starts led the Dodgers but ranked 33rd in the league.
“We don’t have the starting pitching depth that we’ve had in past years,” Roberts said Saturday.
The Dodgers, determined to avoid paying a luxury tax and to adhere to baseball’s debt service rule, no longer enjoy the luxury of such veteran understudies as Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir.
Their starting pitching depth this season includes long reliever Ross Stripling and unproven youngsters Brock Stewart, Julio Urias and Walker Buehler.
Urias is coming off shoulder surgery and is not expected to be ready before the All-Star break.
Buehler, 23, pitched five innings in his first pro season, in 2016, as he rehabilitated from Tommy John surgery. He pitched 98 innings last season, and it is unlikely the Dodgers would extend him past the range of 130-140 innings this season.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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