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|Posted: Thu Mar 30th, 2017 08:39 pm||
|The Los Angeles Dodgers have set their rotation in advance of Monday's Opening Day contest against the San Diego Padres, and skipper Dave Roberts has picked Brandon McCarthy for the last spot while sending Alex Wood to the bullpen.
Despite filling the final hole in the rotation, McCarthy will start ahead of fifth-starter Hyun Jin Ryu.
Ryu, who is coming back from a series of injuries that held him almost completely out of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, is likely headed for the fifth spot out of caution. Furthermore, putting Ryu last in the rotation allows Roberts to stagger his right- and left-handed starters.
The 33-year-old McCarthy started four spring games, allowing seven earned runs on 14 hits and one walk over 13 innings. The right-hander seemed especially susceptible to the long ball in the spring, giving up three homers.
Wood didn't pitch much better though, allowing nine earned runs on 20 hits and three walks over 17 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old left-hander was particularly poor in his last spring start, though, which may have weighed more on Roberts.
On Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds, Wood surrendered five earned runs on 11 hits over six innings.
Another point against Wood may have been the fact he would make the Dodgers' rotation especially lefty-heavy. If Wood beat McCarthy for the last rotation spot, the Dodgers' only right-handed starter going into the season would have been Kenta Maeda.
With McCarthy in the rotation to begin the year, the Dodgers have likely put themselves in a better position for the eventual call-up of 20-year-old phenom, Julio Urias.
Another left-hander, Urias has already been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City but won't stay there long. With two right-handed starters in the rotation to begin the year, Urias can slide in a lot easier once Roberts has him on the big-league roster.