Dodgers manager Dave Roberts set his rotation this week so that Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer will start the first regular-season series against the National League West rival San Diego Padres in Petco Park next weekend.
“I think you can read into it any way you want,” Roberts said, “but I think making sure guys are rested and feeling good going into a particular series is the ultimate goal.”
“There’s gonna be pitching gymnastics all year for our club,” Roberts said. “No. 1, it’s because we have the talent, and No. 2, we want to make sure we manage the usage, keep these guys clicking on all cylinders through October.”
The 19 games between the Dodgers and Padres, two of the best teams in baseball, could determine which team wins the division and which is forced to play a win-or-go-home wild-card game.
In light of that, will Roberts put any extra weight on the Padres series by lining up his best pitchers against them?
“I hesitate to say any more emphasis,” Roberts said, “but you look at the talent of their club, the buildup … we’ll be ready for this series.”
Century (over .500) club
With the win Sunday, Clayton Kershaw improved his career record to 177-77 and joined an exclusive club of pitchers who are 100 or more games over .500.
Since the start of divisional play in 1969, only eight pitchers have reached such a level — Pedro Martinez (219-100), Roger Clemens (354-184), Randy Johnson (303-166), Jim Palmer (245-137), Mike Mussina (270-153), Andy Pettitte (256-153), Greg Maddux (355-227) and Tom Glavine (305-203).
“It’s a product of being on great teams,” Kershaw said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be on Dodgers teams that make the playoffs year after year. We always win games, and that’s what I attribute it to.”
Mookie Betts sat out his fourth consecutive game because of back stiffness, but Roberts said the right fielder could return Tuesday. … After throwing a 15-pitch simulated inning Saturday, reliever Brusdar Graterol returned to Arizona with an objective to pitch twice in a three-day span. “Once he checks that box,” Roberts said, “he’ll be back with us.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.