Dodgers use off days to set temporary 4-man rotation, send Mat Latos to pen

ByMark Saxon ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

OAKLAND -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are going with a four-man rotation for the next 10 days to maximize the usage of their two dominant starting pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday.

Mat Latos, who has gone 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts for the Dodgers since they acquired him from the Miami Marlins, will be sent to the bullpen temporarily.

The Dodgers are able to make the change because they are in a stretch of games in which they have three off days in eight days. They can use Kershaw and Greinke to pitch seven of their next 14 games without sending either pitcher to the mound on short rest.

Greinke leads the majors with a 1.58 ERA, and Kershaw leads the National League with 205 strikeouts. Both pitchers are in the top five in the majors in WHIP and opponents' batting average.

The change also allows the Dodgers to use Greinke and Kershaw in their next series with the second-place San Francisco Giants, starting Aug. 31. After that, the Dodgers have just four remaining games with San Francisco, which trails them by three games going into Tuesday's games.

"To be 100 percent honest, it's all about getting Zack and Clayton lined up and maximizing these off days and not making them wait six days to pitch and things like that," Mattingly said.

Latos will probably slot back into the Dodgers rotation on Aug. 29 against the Chicago Cubs, the next date they'll need a fifth starter. The team remains hopeful Latos can use the time to iron out whatever issues caused him to have rough outings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds his past two times on the mound.

"Mat's a pro and understands you're going to try to line up your rotation the best way possible and kind of acknowledged he hasn't pitched his best to this point, but I think this gives him a chance to work on what he's doing and be ready to go when we get there," Mattingly said.