Do the Dodgers Have a Pitching Problem?

(Gregory Bull/Associated Press)

The Dodgers are without a doubt the best team in all of baseball, as their record and run differential and roster all prove. And it seems silly to nitpick a team that has so much going for it. However.

The short answer to this question is no. The Dodgers have the second best ERA in all of baseball, 2.92, second only to the Cleveland Indians who have Shane Bieber and his insane 1.25 ERA. The Los Angeles bullpen has the best ERA in all of baseball.

The longer answer may be a little more complicated. A lot of the bullpen having the best ERA comes from when they were unstoppable in the beginning of the season. Lately, they have regressed a little bit more to the norm.

Closer Kenley Jansen has not looked as sharp as he should and almost allowed the Arizona Diamondbacks to mount a full comeback in Tuesday’s game, giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth. This prompted a twitter discussion as to whether he should even be the closer for the Dodgers anymore. (Narrator – he should).

Caleb Ferguson also has had a few rough outings as of late, although he was much sharper in his last outing. Blake Treinen, who was previously untouchable, also has been roughed up a bit.

As far as starting pitching goes, they all have had issues. Clayton Kershaw has seemed like himself of late, aside from his last outing. He didn’t have his stuff, but still got tagged for weak hits and walks that combined for four runs during his outing. Dustin May has looked good, but still seems to just have too many pitches rendering him not able to go as far into games as one would like. And Julio Urias is also good, but in spurts. Alex Wood is now in the bullpen, where he has been since he returned from the IL.

The most worrisome person on the staff, however, is Walker Buehler. The flamethrower still was touching 101 mph in his outing on Tuesday, but only went 2.2 innings. He gave up two homers and five runs total, while only striking out two. Buehler has been dealing with a blister over his last few outings, and this was his first start since coming off of the IL. After the game, Buehler told reporters that he wasn’t overly concerned about it and that it did not worsen during his outing.

That blister is definitely something to keep an eye on as the Dodgers are now less than three weeks from the start of the playoffs. The Dodgers could find themselves with a rotation of Kershaw, Urías and two rookies in May and Tony Gonsolin.

But really, all I’m doing here is pointing out some flaws, when the Dodgers don’t really have that many of them. All pitching staffs go through ups and downs, and heaven knows that other pitching staffs have been hit harder, both literally and with injuries. (Knocks on wood). If Buehler can’t pitch for the rest of the regular season, they have Wood waiting to take a starteing spot. I’m sure even at this point he could still go the 2.2 innings Walker went the other night.

The bullpen is still the strongest I’ve seen in the last few World Series runs. In 2017 they relied heavily and mostly on Kenley and Brandon Morrow. And as late as last season they still had Kershaw in relief in Game 5. This year they have Jansen, Treinen, Dylan Floro, Adam Kolarek who has looked really good, and Brusdar Graterol who can blow batters away with his fastball. Overall, long story short, no, the Dodgers do not have a pitching problem, even though some fans worry.

In the end, what it boils down to is the big pieces actually delivering and producing, which has not happened in the last few postseasons. In a year where everything has been crazy, maybe this is finally the year they all do it at the same time, at the right time.

15 thoughts on “Do the Dodgers Have a Pitching Problem?

  1. Bring on the Rays, White Sox, Yankees, Indians, A’s, Braves, Cubs, Padres.
    Just don’t make us face the Rockies. They’re the only team to beat us in a series this year.
    Do we have a pitching problem? Do we have a hitting problem? Who knows? We’ll find out in October.

  2. Do the Dodgers have a pitching problem?

    Yes. Well, maybe. Buehler is out and so is Kelly. Overall we are 2nd in ERA but 8th in WAR and 6th in FIP. Starters are 14th in FIP and 12th in WAR. The bullpen overall has been excellent but it’s possible they may be overworked by the end of the month.

    1. Doc is a competitive guy and really loves a challenge.
      He’s already proven that he can overwork a bullpen so they are at less than full playoff effectiveness during a normal season.
      Now he wants to prove he can do it over a 60 game season.

      1. I would take that. I hope May is ok. X-Rays were inconclusive. Means it is too swollen to see clearly. I think now would be a good time to see what White and Gray can do. Buehler to IL, Kelly up and serving his suspension.

      1. Mookie asked to play there. He finally gets a ground ball right at him and made the play cleanly. 2 more errors tonight, 7 in this series.

    1. In case of an emergency, they want to give him some reps there.
      They don’t think that having Kike, Taylor, Muncy, Barnes, Lux and McKinstry able to play that position is enough insurance.

      1. We are not a good defensive team and moving guys around like this doesn’t help. The answer begins with leaving Muncy at first. I think last night looked like an effort to get more RH bats in there against the Snot Rocket. Didn’t work. If it’s me I think it’s time to put the post season lineup on the field and let it ride. Is Lux at second? On game days hit him 50 grounders every morning, 25 from the right side 25 from the left. On his days off make it 100. Frankly I’d give Seager some extra infield too. Heck, give them all extra infield.

        With Turner out why isn’t Rios at third every game? Let him hit Bumgarner. The Snot Rocket is barely throwing 90.

        I believe it’s time to tune up for the playoffs. The Padres are.

      2. Couldn’t agree more.
        It’s time to finish with all the cute moves. Next thing we know, we’ll be going into the playoffs as the 4th seed instead of the 1st.
        You can take Kike and move him all over the place and not suffer for it. The rest of the guys? Assign them a position and leave them there. You can start tryouts again at the beginning of the 2021 season.

  3. Agree with that Jefe. We have our defined utility players. They know who they are and they are used to the role. The rest of the way we should settle into assignments and focus.

    I believe it’s important that Kelly assumes his role as a one inning reliever anywhere from the 6th inning on. Same with Baez. If those two guys are on it strengthens the bullpen significantly. That can still be a strength in October.

    Muncy and Bellinger. If those two don’t clear their heads from their colons I think our trip through the playoffs will be short lived. The same is true if Buehler isn’t 100%. If both Buehler and May are damaged? We just aren’t deep enough to cover for 3 starters (Price) and 2 middle order stars.

    This team has issues.

    1. And what are these games they’re starting to play with Gonsolin? Is he a starter or reliever? I know he has experience doing both, but it’s time to define his role and keep him there through the playoffs.
      A little part of me almost hopes the Padres go into the playoffs as the number one seed and the favorites. I think that pressure would be enough to destroy them since they have so little post-season experience on their roster.
      Maybe going in as the 4th seed would be enough of a slap in the face to our guys that they would actually play above expectations.

      1. I’ve had this thought too, Jeff. This team, even with Mookie, still doesn’t seem to have a spark and urgency. I worry they won’t be able to just turn it on in the playoffs. Other teams have nothing to lose and are playing maybe a little above their heads

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