Rotation in flux, Dodgers return home to face D-backs


After one week on the road, the Los Angeles Dodgers will return home Friday to close out the first half against the Arizona Diamondbacks having gained a half-game in the standings on a trip that otherwise was not so positive.

The highlights included sweeping four games in Washington as well as meeting with President Joe Biden to celebrate the team’s 2020 World Series title. However, the concerns ended up being far more noteworthy.

Trevor Bauer is now on an extended leave while Pasadena, Calif., police continue a sexual-assault investigation. Clayton Kershaw landed on the injured list, and an MRI on his inflamed left forearm is expected Friday.

The Dodgers are down to three starters: Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin, who has made just five starts this season. They have been covering their recent rotation vacancies with bullpen games and will do so again Friday.

It means that David Price, at age 35 and with 13 years of experience, will need to stretch out his innings so he can be a starter moving forward. The left-hander hasn’t thrown more than 2 2/3 innings in an outing this season.

Regardless of what Kershaw’s MRI results show, the Dodgers are likely to use the assets from their highly regarded minor league system to trade for a starter before the July 30 trade deadline.

“The idea of building (Price) up starts to make more sense,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Price will pitch at some point Friday, whether it is at the start of the game or after an opener, with the veteran picking up a bulk of the innings in the middle of the game. In six career games (four starts) vs. Arizona, Price is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA.

“There are certain things that we can’t plan for, certainly injuries,” Roberts said. “But a lot of guys are stepping up. It hasn’t changed our goal to win a baseball game.”

The Dodgers pulled off a 6-1 road victory over the Miami Marlins on Thursday behind the pitching of Urias, but that came after three consecutive defeats in South Florida.

A visit from the scuffling Diamondbacks appears to be what the Dodgers need right now, not to mention the upcoming All-Star break.

Arizona dropped a 9-3 decision at home to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, a loss that came after they finally won consecutive games for the first time since May 10-11. The Diamondbacks have dropped eight of their past 11 games and 28 of their past 33.

Arizona is expected to bring right-hander Taylor Widener (1-0, 2.63 ERA) back from the injured list to make the start Friday. Widener has been sidelined since late May due to a groin ailment. He made two rehab starts over the past 11 days, allowing a combined nine runs on 15 hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Widener has faced the Dodgers once, striking out one in one inning.

The Diamondbacks are 0-7 against the Dodgers this season. The last time they were in Los Angeles, May 17-20, they lost all four games and were outscored 19-6.

Arizona had a chance to complete a three-game sweep of the Rockies on Thursday, leading 3-2 in the sixth inning. The Diamondbacks intentionally walked No. 8 hitter Dom Nunez with the pitcher’s spot next, but Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon was called on to pinch-hit, and he tied the game with an RBI single.

Colorado scored another run in the sixth, then added four more in the seventh and another in the ninth for the victory.

“We’re going to close out the first half here with three games in L.A., and I know our guys are going to be ready,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I think they’re gonna be energized after winning a series and feeling good about themselves and getting the job done on a very, very high level and executing fundamentally, the way we know how.”

–Field Level Media

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