As the Los Angeles Dodgers inch closer toward a seventh consecutive National League West title, manager Dave Robert continues to juggle keeping players sharp and providing them with an opportunity to rest ahead of what’s expected to be another deep postseason run.
The balancing act is all the more challenging as the Dodgers are currently in the midst of a stretch that calls for 16 consecutive games. Monday marks the start of a seven-game road trip, and the team isn’t due for a day off until Thursday, Sept. 5.
To combat the starting staff from potentially growing fatigued, the Dodgers inserted Dustin May back into the rotation. His start in Monday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres is May’s first appearance since he pitched out of the bullpen on Aug. 18.
According to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA, May is going to receive a second start as the Dodgers temporarily expand to a six-man rotation for one more turn:
Dustin May will make another start after tonight. #Dodgers going with a 6-man rotation for short term. Everyone stays in turn and gets an extra day.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) August 27, 2019
The Dodgers electing to use six starters for the time being leaves May on track to take the mound again in Sunday’s series finale at Chase Field. From there, it’s possible the young right-hander returns to the bullpen.
May, along with Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias, are considered options to either start or be used as a relief pitcher in the postseason. The Dodgers envision Rich Hill returning from a strained flexor tendon in time to build up to a starter’s workload.
May is 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA in four games (three starts) with the Dodgers. He allowed one earned run in consecutive starts before the rocky bullpen appearance. Though, that hardly had an impact on the Dodgers’ confidence in their rookie.
“To expect him to throw three zeros the other day, that’s the hope, but you just never know. It’s a work in progress,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said of May shifting to a relief role.
“I think the next time it happens he’ll feel a little more comfortable. We’re going to continue to keep our options open with Dustin.”
If May is to be relied on out of the bullpen, he admitted to needing to find a new routine that would leave him in better position to make an impact.