LOS ANGELES ― Now that the Dodgers have clinched a postseason berth, it’s customary to view their remaining regular-season games as an opportunity to refine roster roles with an eye toward October.

Toss that custom out the window.

The Dodgers’ starting lineup, rotation, closer and set-up roles are all but cinched. Their injured list has been whittled to one player projected to return between now and the end of the season, outfielder AJ Pollock. The question of who will make the Dodgers’ 26-man postseason roster offers less suspense than their pursuit of the San Francisco Giants.

“I think we have a lot of good options,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s fun to talk about, I guess. It always comes down to the extra bench player, the relief (pitchers), how you’re going to do that.”

If Pollock returns late next week as expected, the Dodgers have five clear candidates to fill out their bench.

Catcher Austin Barnes and first baseman Albert Pujols are shoo-ins as right-handed bats. Cody Bellinger and Gavin Lux have filled in capably in the outfield on this homestand, possibly doing enough offensively to start against right-handed pitchers once Pollock and Chris Taylor return from their respective injuries. If the Dodgers opt to keep a fifth player on their bench, Matt Beaty figures to be that player.

Either Walker Buehler or Max Scherzer will start Game 1 of the postseason. Clayton Kershaw – if he continues his progress back from an elbow injury – and Julio Urías would follow in a seven-game series.

Blake Treinen has been the best set-up man to Kenley Jansen since Brandon Morrow in 2017. Joe Kelly isn’t far behind on the bullpen depth chart. Alex Vesia has become Roberts’ top choice against left-handed hitters in late-game, high-leverage situations. Phil Bickford is the best of Andrew Friedman’s many midseason bullpen acquisitions.

Corey Knebel, David Price, Brusdar Graterol and Tony Gonsolin all have experience pitching out of the bullpen in the postseason. All four can make it if the Dodgers opt to keep 13 pitchers on the staff.


Taylor was available off the bench for the first time since he injured his neck in last Friday’s victory over the San Diego Padres. Taylor was likely to go on the 10-day injured list Wednesday if his neck had not improved.

Taylor and Pollock both took part in pregame batting practice on the field. Pollock, who’s expected to play minor league rehabilitation games in Arizona beginning next Monday, is a week to 10 days away from rejoining the major league team, Roberts said.


The Cincinnati Reds are among a handful of teams the Dodgers might meet in a potential National League wild card game if they fail to win the division. Roberts chose not to shuffle his rotation to hide Buehler or Scherzer, one of whom would start the one-game playoff.

Buehler will start Friday against the Reds’ Luis Castillo. Scherzer will start Saturday opposite the Reds’ Sonny Gray. Kershaw will start Sunday against another left-hander, Wade Miley.


Actor Edward James Olmos narrated a stirring pregame tribute to Fernando Valenzuela, who was feted on the field along with his family on the occasion of his bobblehead night. The retired pitcher-turned-broadcaster received a ceremonial first pitch from his granddaughter. … Scherzer, Pujols, Justin Turner, Kershaw and Buehler opted to wear No. 21 jerseys on Roberto Clemente Day across Major League Baseball. … Clemente, whom the Dodgers lost to the Pirates in the 1954 Rule 5 draft, wore No. 21 for most of his career in Pittsburgh.


Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler, 14-3, 2.32 ERA) at Reds (RHP Luis Castillo, 7-15, 4.24 ERA), Friday, 4:10 p.m. PT, SNLA, 570 AM