Dodgers Roster: A Few More Thoughts About the Starting Rotation

darvish(3)

At this point last week, many followers of the Dodgers were beginning to show signs of concern for a major collapse in the standings, yet many close to the team who knew a little bit about mathematical probability simply shrugged off the slump as a common occurrence which could happen to any contending squad.

We even put an article together about Yu Darvish, expressing a sense of optimism that the Japanese righty would reclaim his mojo and turn things around before the beginning of the playoffs in October.

Yet as the days continue to pass by, the Dodgers can’t seem to catch a break. Resident ace Clayton Kershaw got cuffed around handily by the Rockies on Thursday evening, and after what seemed to be a sure turnaround with the team starting out impressively on Friday night, Darvish fell apart in the fifth inning upon surrendering four doubles and four earned runs. The Dodgers certainly had many opportunities to regain the lead in the later innings, but ultimately were able to score only four runs on a whopping six walks and seven hits. After the 5-4 win, Colorado has won the first two games in what has become a critical series for both clubs.

The Dodgers have now lost eight games in a row. and 13 of their last 14.

“One thing I do is never run away from it,” Darvish said after Friday’s affair. “I just go out there and compete and stay positive, keep going forward. That’s what I will keep doing.”

And that’s all that Darvish and his teammates can really do.

It was just less than six weeks ago that the Dodgers thought they had landed a genuine No. 2 starter to complete the formula for a formidable playoff rotation. However, at the present moment, thoughts of the postseason barely exist at all, as the club remains focused on one game at a time with hopes of turning its current misfortunes into at least a small burst of momentum.

Outside of one stellar start against the Mets on August 4, Darvish has been steadily declining. In his last five outings, he has lasted only 23-1/3 innings, and during that stretch, has given up 18 earned runs on 32 hits, including seven long balls. Since becoming a Dodger, opponents have hit .289 off him, and collectively have tallied a .882 OPS. Many pundits attribute Darvish’s recent struggles to mechanical issues, however, if there’s no sign of a resolution in the near future, the right-hander could conceivably be in jeopardy off missing out on a rotation spot in the postseason.

And although the month of September is cruising along quickly, it’s probably too early to begin laying out a postseason rotation, but for the sake of argument, there’s a lot of speculation outside of Kershaw and veteran southpaw Rich Hill. Lefty Alex Wood has shown that he has the goods to succeed, yet in the one game he threw since returning from the disabled list on September 3 against the Padres, he took the loss after having been rung up for four earned runs on three walks and seven hits—including two home runs—over six innings of work.

Righty Kenta Maeda has been sporadic at best, having given up 15 earned runs on 22 hits—6 home runs—in 25-1/3 innings over his last five games. He hasn’t lasted beyond the sixth inning since his August 1 start at Atlanta. Outside of getting cuffed for six earned runs against the Diamondbacks on August 30, Hyun-Jin Ryu has been relatively solid, yet still has the propensity to have that one ugly outing every few games.

But while there’s certainly more potential beyond what the current statistics have shown, there’s surely not a definite three or four starters set in stone for an impending NLDS. There are enough turns in the remaining schedule for any of the five to emerge and lineup behind Kerhsaw to form the postseason rotation.

In the meantime, there’s still 21 regular season games remaining for the Dodgers to right the ship. And according to Darvish, there’s no lack of effort, as the team continues to battle with every ounce of energy each and every day.

“The first couple weeks when I joined the team, the team was playing really good baseball. I was like, ‘Wow, everything we do is working.’ Right now, we’re on the opposite side. The team is not playing well. But the team is working hard. It amazes me how hard they work to win. That shows me we’re a good team, because we never give up, and keep fighting.”

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: A Few More Thoughts About the Starting Rotation

  1. Until the recent ridiculous streak, the team treated us to an absolutely remarkable season. If these losses had been mixed in with all the wins, nobody would be saying anything now. The baseball gods have decided to make this a very unusual season, and I’m OK with that.
    With regard to the playoff rotation, how about Kershaw, Buehler, Stewart, Stripling………………..unless we feel Kershaw isn’t good enough in which case we could sub in McCarthy.
    Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced 64 Dodger seasons as a fan that I am so fascinated by the way that this one is playing out. Can’t recall ever seeing one quite like this.

    Like

    1. I can 1951 13 1/2 games in front in August and all Dodger fans know what happened that year with Bobby Thompson breaking all Dodger fans hearts

      Like

  2. Roberts is the ugly duckling; continues to start Granderson, Ethier, Forsythe, using the rookies in relief roles as they fail and fail – today, grand slam given up by eh 21 year old rookie who cannot hit spots. Roberts leaves 7 on first four innings, never moves runners along, and costs the team a run. He is useless, and I think they should fire him, and make Utley manager. Roberts understands nothing about making the other team finish defensive plays. He never orders anyone to sacrifice. Rich Hill tried it twice and failed, so the fundamentals are being ignored while the opposition continues to play their very best 9 starters, and the home team plays stupid unwinnable starting rotations with at least two or even three horrible performers. I think the home team will lose the race to the pennant and maybe then they will fire his worthless behind.

    Like

    1. I agree that it’s time for Granderson and Forsythe to sit for a while, but Ethier hit a homer on Saturday and I believe he had two hits yesterday plus making a great catch in the outfield. He may be one of our best players right now.
      This was Buehler’s second appearance. His first one was almost perfect. I have no problem with his being used yesterday even though it totally backfired. By the way, the best reliever in all of baseball (Kenley) gave up the difference-making run on Saturday. Should Roberts stop using him also?
      You say that Roberts never orders anyone to sacrifice and then you comment that he had Hill try twice and he couldn’t get it down. Dodger pitchers have regular bunting practice and earlier in the year they were very good at laying down sacrifice bunts. That along with every other baseball-oriented function has become impossible for this team to accomplish over the last 2-3 weeks. Roberts isn’t the one out there executing (or not executing). The players need to be held accountable as well.
      You call for Roberts to be fired. I could be mistaken, but I don’t remember any comments from you on that topic when they were something like 91-37 and on pace to have the most wins of any team in mlb history. I get it, you’re pissed, and we all love Utley, but if the Dodgers screw up this season the players will be more at fault than Roberts.
      OK, I’ve said my piece, now have at me. Looking forward to your rebuttal.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s