To the shock of many Dodger fans, Ross Stripling, a fan favorite, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the August 31st deadline. The deal wasn’t announced until nearly an hour after the deadline. In return, the Dodgers received the 11th ranked prospect in the Blue Jays farm system, right-handed pitcher Kendall Williams. Getting Williams is a nice return, but he can’t help the current ballclub, who is in win-now mode, especially as the postseason approaches. While Stripling was struggling at times, he could have provided support down the stretch in case of an emergency.
The injury bug has started to bite the Dodgers, as Walker Buehler was placed on the injured list with a blister issue that has bothered him the majority of the season. Dustin May had to exit Thursday after a liner struck him on his left foot. X-rays after the game were “inconclusive.” So we’ll have to wait and see how long May will be out.
As of now, the rotation stands with Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin, who pitched in relief Thursday, allowing three runs—the same amount he had allowed all season—over five even innings. With Kershaw, he’s been stellar this season. Urias has been wild a few times out, not pitching deep into games and getting into traffic jams in the early innings. In the opening three-game postseason series this could very well be the rotation, depending on the health of May.
Currently, sitting in that eighth spot is the San Francisco Giants, which would be quite the series for fans of both teams. Also creeping up are the Padres who’ve cut the Dodgers lead to 3.5 games, with the two teams beginning a three-game series Monday night.
As of now, the Dodgers do not have any clear No. 4 or No 5 starter. Possible options could be Alex Wood, Victor Gonzalez, or Caleb Ferguson in a potential bullpen game. In the regular season, the Dodgers might be able to withstand this but the postseason is a whole different problem.
The pitching depth in comparison to last year will look very different. In the offseason, the Dodgers parted ways with Kenta Maeda, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Rich Hill, all who could have definitely been a big contribution to the Dodgers this time around.
With Stripling being traded away, that takes away a possible fourth starter in a long series, as well as a long reliever who can pitch multiple innings. As we all have seen, things can change rather quickly just in a week’s time.
The bullpen has been one of the major strengths for the Dodgers this season and have now eaten up a lot of innings due to the many injuries to the starters. They’ve pitched 23 ⅔ of the last 32 ⅔ innings the team has played.
The one thing that can stop the Dodgers is injuries, and they have been dealing with many this season. While the Dodgers can probably get past the likes of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies in the regular season just based on pure talent, an extra starter or quality long man can be critical in a series against teams like the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.
Hopefully, during these last few weeks of the regular season, the Dodgers can rest up and be healthy for the playoff push.