Dodgers’ Starting Rotation Nearing Full Strength

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If there’s one thing the 2019 Dodgers have proven they’re good at, it’s being streaky. A four game winning streak followed by a six game losing streak and now they’re in a five game winning streak.

The six game losing streak was precipitated partly by starting pitching not being able to go late into games, and then some members of the bullpen then not being able to carry the load.

Per Rick Krajewski, including last night’s game, the last five starting pitchers have allowed just four earned runs over 34 innings pitched. Five straight quality starts after four in the first 16 games.

Ross Stripling started them off on Sunday hurling a gem just when the Dodgers needed it most. Clayton Kershaw finally returned to the starting rotation on Monday and went seven strong innings. Kenta Maeda went 6.2 innings of one run ball, Walker Buehler 6.1 of the same, and last night, Julio Urias six innings of no run ball.

Now, both Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu are both going to return to the starting rotation. Hill will make one more rehab start, most likely on Monday at a location to be determined. He went 4.0 innings in his last start for High-A Rancho Cuchamonga. He issued eight strikeouts and no walks and allowed no earned runs before going to the bullpen to continue his throwing. He has yet to make a start for the Dodgers this season.

Ryu is currently slated to start for the Dodgers in Milwaukee on Saturday, which will push Kershaw’s next start back to Sunday. Ryu will be returning to the starting rotation after suffering a groin strain in his second start of the season. It’s the same injury that sidelined him last year, but this is a much quicker return for the Dodgers Opening Day Starter.

So with the Dodgers rotation being this close to finally being full strength, that means that spot starters Urías and Stripling will see their positions as starters gone. Manager Dave Roberts has said that Urías will be the first to move to the bullpen when Ryu returns. Stripling will most likely make one more start before he also moves to the bullpen.

It makes sense for Urías to move to the bullpen, as he was on a 70-100 innings limit to start the season. He was pressed into service only because of the Dodgers starting the season with two pitchers on the IL. But the way he’s been pitching, it almost doesn’t seem fair.

But, then, its not fair to move Stripling either. He currently leads the pitching staff with an ERA of 2.92, WHIP of 0.97, batting average against of .202, and innings pitched with 24.2.

All of this is to say, after that rough six game losing streak, the Dodgers might have finally figured out the pitching part of their attack. They are so good that two really good pitchers will be relegated to the bullpen for the time being so two other really good pitchers can take their place. As with any season, there will be future IL stints and spots starts needed from Urías and/or Striping down the line. But for right now we can just appreciate how good the Dodgers’ starting pitching staff truly is.

 

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6 thoughts on “Dodgers’ Starting Rotation Nearing Full Strength

  1. I think we really don’t give Stripling enough credit for what he brings to the pitching staff. He moves back and forth between starting and relieving pretty much seamlessly, going wherever they need him. And just as in the first half last year, he’s been our most effective starter so far this year. As you point out, the way our starters get injured it’s a pretty safe bet that both he and Urias will be back in the rotation at some point. In the meanwhile, our bullpen will just get that much stronger.
    Saw a comment from Kelley which I assume was real and not just made up. He said that Verdugo had better control from 300 feet on that throw last night than he (Kelley) has from 60 feet. Also commented with a smirk that he noticed that Kenley was taking on some of his (Kelley’s) mojo. He may not be pitching well, but he’s got a great sense of humor.

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  2. I agree Jeff, Striplinghas been invaluable last 2 years. I,look for him to remain strong and have a great 2nd half this year. Tonight is my favorite lineup!

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    1. I know this is a strange way to look at it, but you could almost say that Verdugo has cost Kike his spot in the lineup tonight, even though they don’t play the same position. Dugo has shown he needs to play every day, which moves Bellinger back to first and, at least for tonight, Muncy to second and Kike to the bench. If Muncy’s defense can hold up decently, we may find him playing all the infield spots except short on an as-needed basis. So far, it hasn’t worked out too badly.

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  3. Stats are a great help in today’s version of baseball but they aren’t always a lockdown predictor of future outcomes. Last night was Kike’s first ever MLB homer on an 0-2 count and Hader had never previously given up a homer on that count.

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  4. When we pitch well we’re a very good team. Still waiting on Seager, Turner and Pollock to go off. When they do we should run off and hide in the NL west. I think Hill is gonna have a great year. Still think we’re a shut down 8th inning/2nd closer guy away from winning a World Series tho.

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