Dustin May still auditioning for role on Dodgers’ postseason roster

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SAN DIEGO — For Dustin May, the audition continues.

Going into the final trip of the regular season, May has made six relief appearances this month. He will get “two, three more outings” this week as the Dodgers try to decide if they can trust a hard-throwing right-hander who started the season in Double-A and just turned 22 to pitch out of the bullpen in the pressurized atmosphere of the postseason.

“We’re learning more about him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But fortunately for us, we don’t have to set the roster yet. He’s going to get a couple more outings and we’ll know more.”

May’s results pitching out of the bullpen this month have sent mixed signals.

He has allowed three runs and nine hits in 7-1/3 innings, allowing a .310 batting average. But he has also struck out 10 and walked only one (but hit two others).

“I think the thing that’s been the most impressive … is the intensity and the importance of every outing he takes,” Roberts said. “I think some of it has been self-induced as far as the traffic that’s created. But when it comes down to making pitches, he’s done that.

“I think, for me, having him come into games and see his intensity from pitch one has been really good to see.”

What May has to offer a Dodgers’ postseason bullpen is obvious – his pitch mix might be the most electric among the candidates vying for spots.

“There’s a soft contact. There’s obviously with the swing and miss with the punch out,” Roberts said. “For him to be able to run 97 mph up there and throw a 93 mph cut fastball, a breaking ball once in awhile … for him to have that obviously is exciting for all of us.”

KELLY STATUS

Reliever Joe Kelly’s unspecified health issue – “overall body situation,” Roberts called it Tuesday – will make him unavailable to pitch until Thursday at the earliest, the manager said. Kelly has faced a total of seven batters in three appearances over the past 13 days.

“The expectation is he’ll be ready to go when the bell rings and before that too,” Roberts said.

“His head space and where his body is at is most important and right now the body part isn’t quite where we want it to be. So once it gets there – hopefully it’ll be Thursday – we’ll put him back in the mix.”

Roberts continues to assert that he is “absolutely” certain Kelly will be ready to pitch in the postseason.

“I’m certain he will pitch again this year,” Roberts said. “And if I’m not concerned I don’t think anyone should be concerned. I’m not concerned.”

STARTING ROTATION

Clayton Kershaw will make his final start of the regular season on Thursday followed by Walker Buehler in San Francisco on Friday and Hyun-Jin Ryu on Saturday. All three are likely to be abbreviated starts.

With their NL Division Series scheduled to start next Thursday at home, Kershaw would be lined up to start Game 1 on six days’ rest, Buehler on five. Even with a short start on Saturday, Ryu is an unlikely Game 1 starter on four days’ rest.

“We don’t know yet,” Roberts send when asked what order those three might start in the NLDS. “We’re talking through it. We are. Obviously you’re looking at who we’re potentially going to face. I think that matters. Where we’ve lined up our guys, Thursday, Friday and Saturday – knowing we play the first game on Thursday – gives us some latitude to go in any direction we want.

“We’re digging in on both potential opponents and seeing what makes the most sense.”

ALSO

Infielder Max Muncy returned to the starting lineup Tuesday after missing two games with tightness in the quadriceps muscle of his left leg. Like third baseman Justin Turner when he returned from an ankle injury over the weekend, Muncy will be eased back into the lineup with limited at-bats at first. …

Ross Stripling is the most likely starting pitcher on Wednesday. Roberts said Stripling will either be the starter or “the bulk guy” who pitches multiple innings following an opener.

UP NEXT

Dodgers (TBD) at Padres (RHP Dinelson Lamet, 3-5, 3.84 ERA), Wednesday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AM