Exactly How Good Is the Dodgers’ Starting Rotation?

ryu kersh

While many fans of the Dodgers have attributed an extremely potent offense to the team’s success so far this year, the starting pitching has undoubtedly been the backbone of the squad’s consistency.

Because of the starters ability to go much deeper into games compared to the rest of the league, the bullpen has performed better in some situations. Los Angeles starters have averaged an impressive 5.79 innings per start this year, which is far and away the best number in the National League.

After another double-digit run output against the Pirates in the series opener on Friday night, skipper Dave Roberts confirmed in the postgame that in his eyes, the rotation is certainly the team’s strength.

“I think we all know this,” Roberts told Bill Plunkett of the OC Register. “We have a very dynamic, athletic position-player group. But the strength of our team is our starting pitching—the depth and the quality. And it’s showing true right now.”

Plunkett also noted that Los Angeles starters have a 2.09 ERA over the last 25 games.

Through the first 51 games, the Dodgers’ starters have a 2.93 ERA. The next closest team in the National League is the Cubs with a 3.50 mark (no, that is not a typo). What’s even more impressive is that the Los Angeles rotation has a .217 batting average against—the Reds’ rotation is second at .229. Furthermore, Los Angeles starting pitching is first in the NL with a 3.47 FIP, first with a .265 OBP against, first with a .373 SLG against and first with a .638 OPS against.

They even lead the league with a 1.02 WHIP, a number that leads the Cubs by a whopping 0.25 point discrepancy.

All of these numbers were accomplished despite both Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill beginning the season on the injured list. Hyun-Jin Ryu was also on the shelf for 10 days with a groin issue, as was righty Kenta Maeda most recently after fouling a ball off his left leg.

Despite Ryu’s short stint away from the squad, he’s leading the world in almost every statistical category and is the main reason why Los Angeles has been dominating the league’s starting pitching stats. He has a ridiculous 271 ERA+, a 0.74 WHIP and a 1.52 ERA—all numbers which lead the bigs by wide margins. What’s more, he’s amid a 32-game scoreless inning streak. And the fact that he’s walked just 0.67 batters per nine innings gives us some indication as to why he has been so successful.


In the middle game of the weekend series against the Pirates on Saturday, Ryu gets the start and will oppose righty Joe Musgrove. In five career starts against the Pirates, Ryu has a 5-0 record with a 2.51 ERA over 32-1/3 innings of work.

Several patches of heavy thunderstorms are in the forecast for the game, but hopefully none of them will prevent the contest from being played in its entirety. I’ll be on hand at PNC Park for the affair, so stay tuned to our Twitter feed for the latest updates on the weather and other game notes.

First pitch is set for 4:15 PM Los Angeles time.


35 thoughts on “Exactly How Good Is the Dodgers’ Starting Rotation?

  1. Have a great game Dennis. Will you be in your Dodger blue? If they all stay relatively healthy this could be an historic year for them. Who,knew beginning the year Kersh would be our #5 starter!

  2. Write him check yourself Alex. He already makes near $18 million, so your check better have a lot of zeros on it.

    The rotation is the best in baseball now but I can’t help but be skeptical. Every guy in it has some injury history. They will all need time off before September. Wait for it………..

  3. Has Ryu done something to you personally for you to not like him? It sure seems like it….. You keep saying he’s being paid which he is….for this year only. He’s the best pitcher in baseball since 2018 the numbers back that up. If that isn’t worthy of a contract extension then nobody is by your logic.

  4. Alex, it’s time to come clean. You’re actually Scott Boras aren’t you?
    When you negotiate Ryu’s next contract, make sure they give him something extra for being Kershaw’s chauffeur (see photo above).
    All kidding aside, Ryu has been my favorite Dodger starter since he got here. I love how he gets his job done while looking like it’s all so effortless. He’s much more athletic than his body type would indicate. I hope he rides this streak through the end of the year (not the scoreless streak, that’s asking too much, but just the excellent pitching in general) and I hope he’s rewarded with a really good contract, hopefully in Dodger blue.

    1. Would it shock you if I said I honestly wanted to be Scott Boras growing up? The man is a genius at his craft. For as much as curse his name I also respect the hell out of him for creating a market out of nothing and setting his own price. If that’s not the pure capitalism and the American way I don’t know what is. All the more reason to attempt early negotiations on Ryu to hopefully pull on is love of the Dodgers to save the team some money because Boras will have no such love and he will create a bidding war in free agency.

      1. Hah! No it wouldn’t shock me and yes, Boras is at the top of his craft. I’m sure that no GM enjoys negotiating with him. I really do think that if the Dodgers give Ryu a fair offer (whenever it might be), that he will give them at least something of a discount, no matter what Boras wants him to do. If I’m not mistaken L.A. has the largest Korean community in the U.S. and I’m sure that means something to him. He’s obviously also very comfortable with his teammates and that’s also important to him. Now let’s just work to get him through the season with no further injuries, whether or not he has signed an extension.

  5. I don’t know what you’re looking at Alex, other than the last 5 minutes, but Ryu hasn’t been a reliable starting pitcher since 2014. Last year 82 innings and the year before 126, with a 5-9 record and 3.77 ERA. We are all happy he appears to be healthy, but, patience my friend. I am not familiar with protocols for extensions but my gut tells me this is not yet the time for it. The only person I’ve heard demanding it is you Alex. If we start to hear some barking from the Ryu camp then the situation might change.

  6. Also Alex he wasn’t great in the playoffs last year outside of his opening start against Atlanta. When he pitches like this in the playoffs and leads us to a WS championship then I’ll pay him!

  7. The next time any of us is feeling sorry for ourselves because the bullpen blew another one be glad you’re not a Giants fan. They lost to the D’backs 18-2 last night and are losing 10-1 in the fifth today. Old friend Tim Locastro is 2 for 2 so far including an RBI double, playing left field.

    1. I’ve been glad I wasn’t a giants fan (small g purposed) since 1959. I love Northern California, lived there most of my adult life, but I have no affection for the giants. Watching them founder is pleasing to me. But, it won’t last long. They now have a GM savant in charge, and they have plenty of money. They will be back in a couple of years.

      1. I share your love of NoCal and your distaste for the Not-So-Giants but if Farhan has the same success with the rest of the team as he’s had in reconstructing his outfield, it will be more than a couple of years.

      2. Farhan is Urdu for genius, Zaidi is Pashto for arithmetic. He’s applied his steely eyed genesiological gift to the algorithmic construction of a baseball team. I think they will soon trade some aging vets for upstart young talent, maybe even some outfielders, and be at or above .500 by 2020.

      3. I don’t question Farhan’s skill, but what he inherited there is a total mess. I don’t think they’ll see .500 until 2021 and wouldn’t be surprised if it took 4-5 years to compete for a divisional title.

      4. You may be right Jefe. Only 80 wins next year. Not 81 until ‘21. We will remain better – for the foreseeable future at least.

      5. I think they could be even worse next year than they are this year Scoop. The old guys whose contracts are untradeable will be still another year older and they definitely won’t have Bumgarner and some of their good relievers. I guess it will all depend upon the players available in free agency and how much money Farhan can spend above the amount already committed to the bad contracts. We both agree this won’t last forever, just a matter of how quickly Farhan can get it done.

  8. For those of you who were able to watch it on TV, remember how furious Hill got the other night when a lefty hitter poked one through the left side of the infield against the shift? Here’s a link to a Bill James article which talks about how great the Dodger defense has been this year but gives some very interesting stats about how successful the shift has been. Overall, well worth the read.

  9. I was more impressed by Ryu last night than any other of his performance’s this year. On the road without his best stuff and they got some frustrating cheap hits and RIP everywhere, but he battled and kept us in the game with some clutch pitching. Great job! Impressive job at the plate by our guys too, very disciplined and we seem to getting away from that all,or nothing attitude we’ve had the last couple of years. Props to Van Scopoc! Not to mention the defense. Second and third no outs and they wouldn’t challenge Verdugo or Belly and for good reason! I really think we’re one 8th inning stud reliever from a WS championship. Greene from Detroit? Make it happen AA!

  10. Even without his best stuff he still makes it work. I like to see a pitcher battle sometimes it shows what they are made of. At the risk of having my house set on fire by the the faithful of this board….. PAY THE MAN!!!!!

      1. You’d have to cross many swamps and hay fields to get to me 🐊😉

      2. Keep looking over your shoulder. This is the era of the drone.
        I guess at this point I need to state again that I’m a huge Ryu fan and abhor violence.

  11. Ferguson just got cuffed around again. Cingrani experienced shoulder soreness in his rehab outing last night. Alexander has been good and bad. Anybody ready to go after Hand if the Indians don’t get their act together in the next 2-3 weeks? They are now 9 games behind Minnesota and the wild card is not going to come from that division. Hand has 2 years left on his contract after this year (1 year and a team option for another). What would it take to get Hand or (less likely to be available) Vazquez from the Pirates?

  12. It’s not going to Ferguson! Unless he learns a third pitch and to throw his curve for strikes he’s NOT a big league pitche! Look what the change up has done for Baez! Look what the slider did for Kersh! Cmon Dodgers teach this kid a third pitch! NOW!

  13. Another name to add to my list above is Doolittle. The Nats look to be toast so lets go out and get one of Hand, Vazquez or Doolittle.
    Add that to Kenley, Urias and Baez and it’s a very good top four in the bullpen. Then you fill in the others from among Floro, Yimi, Alexander, Stripling and others, depending upon who is throwing well.

  14. Yimi was dealing today! 96-97 with his fastball. That will play! Doolittle hasn’t been good lately. Vasquez would require a fortune. I’d like to see what Detroit would want for Castellanos and Greene

    1. Greene is having a nice year and he’ll be somewhere other than Detroit on August 1st. It might be us, but I’m guessing it will be the Cubs. With regard to Castellanos, although he’s been better recently, his stat line for the season is worse than just about every right hand hitter on our roster, including guys like Freese, Pollock, Kike, CT3 and Barnes. And I would much rather see Kike or Taylor in left field than have to watch Castellanos out there.

  15. He’s still a lefty masher. Check his stats and Inthink he’ll play up with a championship team

  16. I expect Detroit to trade him, but I don’t think it will be to L.A, especially if we expect Pollock back by mid season.

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