Exactly How Good Is the Dodgers’ Starting Rotation?


Perhaps the more relative question is exactly how good has the Dodgers‘ rotation been lately?

If you missed Bill Plunkett’s early-morning column in the OC Register on Saturday, he provided a very concise, but accurate, summary.

“Dodgers’ starters have a 5.67 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over the past four games while averaging less than five innings per start. The last Dodgers starter to pitch into the sixth inning was Walker Buehler on Aug. 27 (nine games ago) in San Diego.”

As far as the projected playoff starters go over that same time frame, Buehler’s ERA is 4.50, Clayton Kershaw‘s is 5.73 and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who at one point not long ago was considered an NL Cy Young favorite, has an ERA of 9.95.

In the series opener against division rival San Francisco on Friday night, Kersh managed to survive just four full innings on a whopping 99 pitches. He ended up surrendering three earned run on seven hits and three walks.

“Just a frustrating game. Really frustrating all around,” Kersh told Plunkett after the game. “I don’t take much from it except frustration, I guess.”

When considering the current trend of the rotation, many fans are left wondering if the pitching staff has left their best performances behind them or if they’ll be able to find a way to kick things back into gear in the postseason at the beginning of October.

Even when including the most recent starts noted above, the Dodgers, by far, have the most effective numbers in the National League for the entirety of the 2019 season. The combined ERA for Dodgers starting pitchers this year is 3.16. After a bunch of daylight, the Nationals are in second place with a 3.60 mark, and the Mets are in third at 3.95.

Ryu, Kershaw and Buehler are all in the Top 11 of qualified NL starters when it comes to ERA for the entire season. Ryu is still the league’s leader with a 2.45 mark. Kershaw is in seventh at 3.06 and Buehler 11th at 3.48.

And, if you’re looking really far ahead, that 3.16 mark for Dodgers starters is also the best in baseball. The Rays are in second at 3.48 and the Astros trail the Nationals in fourth place with a starting pitching ERA of 3.60.

One thing the management crew of the Dodgers has been trying to do lately is employ the strategy of extra rest to its rotation, especially Ryu and Kershaw. Ryu will be passed over entirely next week while Kersh is believed to be on a six-day type of turn.

If you didn’t already know, Kershaw has never been a big fan of extra rest.

“It’s not ideal, obviously. More than anything you just want to stay in that rhythm,” Kershaw said at the start of the 2019 season. “One day of extra rest every once in a while is fine, but obviously you have to understand the bigger picture of what we’re trying to do. It’s set up better for everybody, so just kind of roll with it and go on.”

Regardless of what Kershaw thinks, it will be interesting to see which rotation appears at the onset of the playoffs—the crew that dominated the first 4-1/2 months of the regular season or the group that has struggled mightily over the last few weeks.


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

  1. I think you have to look at the season as a whole rather than a rough patch right now. Our starters will be there come October!

  2. How good are they?

    Well, not very for a while now, but they still have potential.

    Kershaw may say he’s not a fan of rest but I think everyone would agree it would benefit him. I’ve been saying for some time now with these aging veteran arms and young guns not accustomed to pitching until November a 6 man rotation makes sense. Do it the way Japan does. 6 man rotation, 28 man roster, games can end in ties. All good ideas.

    1. I like all of the idea’s except the ties. I hate that. There are ways for baseball to avoid that kind of thing without including ties in the equation.

  3. Won’t have to worry about the 4th starter if these guys dont get their act together pretty soon. Rui and kersh have been struggling for a lot longer than a few games. Bueller is just young and inconsistant. But I’m way more concerned about the offence. They generally beat up on the bad teams and struggle with good pitching. Now they are struggling with bad pitching. Bad time to go into a funk.

  4. What can you say? They got shut down by a guy with an ERA north of 7. That’s just pitiful. The starters are in a funk, Cody is not hitting all that great. Turner is ofer the last couple of games. They are missing Muncy, but he should be back by Friday. Kelly is nursing an injured lower half, not good. The best thing out of the last couple of games is that the pen has looked pretty good. I am more concerned about Ryu that Kersh. Hill is starting Wednesday in Baltimore. They need to sweep the 3 games there. Face it, when they play the Giants, no matter how bad SF is, they love to beat the Dodgers. Bellinger is hitting .257 in the second half. Way down from his .338 in the first half. His power and his contact are way down. He is also striking out at a higher rate. I noticed that he is pulling off of the ball again, just like Pederson when he slumps.

  5. What can you say?

    You said it all. The team is in a slump. We’ve seen it before. The questions are these: how long will it last and how costly will it be?

  6. Eerily similar to 2017 when the Dodgers 20 game lead shrunk to 11. They managed to hole on to home field that year, but it made no difference in the World Series. They still lost 2 of their 4 home games.

  7. Just a slump. They’ll rebound and win a championship and bear and AF will be toasting champagne together!

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