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Dodgers rout Rockies in return, but how to replace Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer?

The Dodgers' Will Smith connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies on July 16, 2021.
Will Smith connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies on Friday night. Smith also had a two-run double in the Dodgers’ 10-4 win.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The Dodgers did what a good team does at Coors Field: score a lot of runs and pummel the home team.

It was a good Friday indeed, a 10-4 rout of the Colorado Rockies, a good start to the first series of the second half.

The second series figures to be more of a challenge, at what could be a particularly challenging time for the Dodgers.

On Monday, the Dodgers open a series against the first-place San Francisco Giants. Clayton Kershaw, who was in line to start one of the games in that series, instead is expected to remain on the injured list into August, manager Dave Roberts said. That would mean the Dodgers would proceed without Kershaw and Trevor Bauer as the July 30 trade deadline approaches, and likely beyond.

Bauer is on leave from the Dodgers, as the Pasadena police and Major League Baseball investigate sexual assault allegations against him.

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The Dodgers' Chris Taylor follows through on a three-run homer during the first inning July 16, 2021.
Chris Taylor follows through on a three-run homer during the Dodgers’ five-run first inning.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Roberts, asked whether the Dodgers have to assume Bauer would not return this season as they plan their pitching future, chose his words carefully. He did not use Bauer’s name in his answer. He basically said yes, without explicitly saying yes.

“We are planning with who we have now, on our team and in our organization, and canvassing the industry,” Roberts said. “That’s how we’re going about it.”

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 10-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night in Denver.

The Dodgers went about it with purpose and efficiency Friday, scoring five runs before the Rockies could record two outs.

Chris Taylor hit a three-run home run, Mookie Betts had three hits and Will Smith drove in four runs. Pitcher Phil Bickford got his first career hit, and every player in the Dodgers’ starting lineup scored at least one run by the fifth inning.

Julio Urías (12-3), who leads the majors in victories, pitched into the sixth inning for this victory. He gave up four runs, all on a grand slam by C.J. Cron. Walker Buehler, who has completed six innings in all but one of his 18 starts this season, starts for the Dodgers on Saturday.

Roberts said he had alerted Buehler that he might not pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star game, given the Dodgers’ need for reliable starters. Buehler had pitched in a previous All-Star game, and Roberts said Buehler said he would do whatever the team asked.

Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías works against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning July 16, 2021.
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías gave up four runs in 5-2/3 innings. He picked up his 12th win, the most in the major leagues.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

On Sunday, the Dodgers plan to start David Price, who has not pitched more than three innings since July 30, 2019. On Monday, in the series opener against San Francisco, the Dodgers plan to start Tony Gonsolin, who has pitched beyond the fourth inning once in seven games this season. On Tuesday, the Dodgers could ask one of two prospects — Josiah Gray or Ryan Pepiot — to make his major league debut.

Roberts said the Dodgers also could try another bullpen game, which would be their 10th this season.

That would have been Kershaw’s day to pitch. Instead, Kershaw is expected to miss at least his next three starts.

He has not pitched since July 3 because of what the team lists as forearm inflammation. Roberts said Kershaw had complained of a sore elbow, and the team decided it would be prudent to let him rest and then “build him back up,” with the kind of midseason sabbatical the Dodgers had hoped to provide for all their starters.

Trevor Bauer is under investigation for sexual assault by the police and by MLB. How is the situation likely to unfold? What can the Dodgers do?

“It’s a blow we just kind of wanted to bake in,” Roberts said. “We talked about it this year, as far as giving guys certain blows. The season hasn’t allowed for that. Now, with Clayton, we just said let’s revisit our conversation and build that blow in right now.”

By assuming Bauer does not return, the Dodgers’ baseball operations brain trust is making a decision based not on guilt or innocence, but on reality.

It is not considered likely that Bauer would be reinstated from administrative leave at the first available date, July 28.

Even if he were reinstated then, he would not have pitched for a month, so he would have to rebuild his arm strength.

There is no guarantee Bauer would be cleared to pitch again this season, but the Dodgers cannot afford to wait and see. The trade deadline is July 30. And, under new baseball rules, the second chance of an August trade is gone. August waiver trades are no longer allowed.

Here’s a look at 10 starting pitchers that the Dodgers and Angels could target in trades this month.

So, if the Dodgers wish to trade for a starting pitcher, they have two weeks to do so.

Max Scherzer? Roberts started him Tuesday, in the All-Star game. Could he start the three-time Cy Young winner again, this time for the Dodgers, who would need to acquire him from the Washington Nationals?

Roberts laughed. That question was easy for him to dodge. That would be a trick for president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to pull off.

“That,” Roberts said, “is above my pay grade.”


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