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).
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.