“I think that Yasmani is the starter and he will get a brunt of the starts,” Roberts said. “He’s had a lot of success against right-handed pitching. A.J. showed that he had a very good season against left-handed pitching.”
While it sounds like a straight platoon, Roberts fought the temptation to say as much.
“There will be constant communication, but our goal will be who gives us the best chance to win that night,” Roberts said.
Also addressed was the topic of personal catchers. The duo of Clayton Kershaw on the mound with Ellis behind the plate is the second most-used battery in baseball since the start of the 2012 season, used a whopping 102 times. The only battery that has been used more is the Madison Bumgarner-Buster Posey duo in San Francisco, which has been used 109 times.
Roberts was asked specifically if Grandal will be catching Kershaw more this season.
“Sure, and he caught him last year as well,” Roberts said. “He caught him last year and Clayton performed well so the idea of a personal catcher, I don’t see that happening. But there will be times A.J. will catch Kershaw as well.”
Roberts said the personal-catcher topic was discussed with all parties, but declined to say when. Kershaw’s preference to pitch to his buddy Ellis is well known, so how did the staff ace react to the news?
“I think that he was open to whatever was best for the team,” Roberts said.
Austin Barnes, whom Roberts has talked up more than once in the early spring, is the third catching option, available in case of injury.