Torre meets with Dodgers' six starters
Manager to begin task of paring down rotation for playoffs
PITTSBURGH -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre called his six starting pitchers into his office Saturday afternoon to tell them he wouldn't need six starting pitchers in the postseason.
Beyond that stunning revelation, Torre wasn't saying much to the media, and probably not to the pitchers either.
"We let them know that if we wind up where we want to go -- to the playoffs -- we can't go with six," said Torre. "This week, some guys will be coming out of the rotation."
Torre had already announced that Clayton Kershaw would start for the first time in three weeks Sunday and Hiroki Kuroda will pitch the series finale in Pittsburgh on Monday.
The Dodgers then have games in San Diego on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, a day off Thursday, and the final series of the regular season at home against Colorado from Friday-Sunday. No probables have been announced for those games.
Without any changes, the rotation in its current order would have been Chad Billingsley and Vicente Padilla in San Diego, with Jon Garland, Randy Wolf and Kershaw in Los Angeles, while Kuroda wouldn't have pitched after Monday. Torre said that Billingsley, fighting a monthlong slump and fighting for a postseason role, will be one of the starters next week.
Game 1 of the playoffs will be Wednesday, Oct. 7. If Torre wants his starters on a five-day rotation, his starters for Games 1, 2 and 3 will make their final regular-season starts Friday, Saturday and Sunday against the Rockies. He said some starters will "piggyback" next week, meaning two will pitch in the same game.
"It would be unfair to name them," he said. "All are worthy, as far as I'm concerned."
As for the postseason, Torre said among the factors that will go into his selection will be the lineups of the opposing team the Dodgers draw, as well as the past performances in the individual matchups.
Assuming Wolf, Kuroda and Kershaw are in the rotation, that leaves one starting spot for Billingsley, Padilla and Garland, with the also-rans no guarantee to make the roster as relievers. That's especially the case for Padilla and Garland, who have almost no relief experience over the past five years.
Keeping in mind Billingsley's struggles against the Phillies in last year's playoffs, he is probably more likely to be in a rotation against the Cardinals. Padilla hasn't faced either team this year, while Garland is 0-2 against both clubs.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.