Dodgers Pitching Showing Early Indications of Good Health and Form

It’s extremely early to get excited about things that could inherently go wrong down the line for the Dodgers pitching staff, but two things stand out so far. They are happy, and more importantly, healthy.

Happiness probably doesn’t rank high on what fans think should be part of a pitcher’s (or any player, for that matter) condition to play. But while ball players are indeed getting paid to play a kid’s game, being comfortable in your role and job goes a long way to being the best you can be at your job.

We talked on Thursday about Clayton Kershaw, and his multiple offseason hangovers. All the dirt coming out about the 2017 World Series has to have helped ease his mind to finally move on from that Game 5 failure. Along with the long offseason where he had to time to rest and get healthy, he’s ready to face 2020 is a good frame of mind.

So far, there hasn’t been much to worry about with Walker Buehler. He’s been healthy and has pitched well in all of his facets of his major league career. Buehler should be poised to fully take control of the Ace status of the Dodgers pitching staff.

One of these two will be the Opening Day starter. Manager Dave Roberts has said that internally, the decision has been made and announced, but that he didn’t feel the need to announce it publicly. My heart says they will give the honor to Kershaw, but Buehler more than deserves it as as he is now the No. 1 starter, he should be that pitcher to begin the season.

The presumed number three starter, David Price, also seems quite happy with his new role on his new team. He has talked about how he’s learned from his past mistakes, both in pitching and with the media. But his biggest plus this offseason is that he’s finally feeling healthy again. Price had been dealing with extra tissue in his pitching hand due to years of use. He underwent surgery in September to scrape down all of that excess, and the ball is floating out of his hand like it did when he was younger. With the amount of depth the pitching staff has, they can regulate his innings and workload so that he’s ready and healthy for the postseason.

Alex Wood also came (back) into Dodgers camp ready to take over a starting role. 2019 saw Wood traded to Cincinnati, only making seven starts due to back spasms that he couldn’t ever quite recover from. As noted, he spent time with Driveline over the offseason and focused on his health and conditioning. His fastball velocity has been consistently hitting 92-93 MPH. He re-signed with the Dodgers with the caveat that he would be in starting rotation and all indications are he’s looking and feeling good, and will have that fourth starter’s spot.

The Dodgers rotation over the season will be fine. Should any starter here or there falter or hit a little injury, there are so many arms ready to step in and fill in that role. Julio Urías seems to be the one to take the number five slot—that still leaves Ross Stripling, Tony Gonsolin, Jimmy Nelson and Dustin May to be either long relief or to start the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City to be ready when called up. Bill Plunkett of the OC Register today featured an article on Nelson, and how the Dodgers are currently hoping that he may become a Brandon Morrow type of pitcher out of the bullpen. Stripling has been working on another off-speed pitch to compliment his fastball, curve and change up. Pitching coaches, including Orel Hershiser, have been very impressed by what they’ve seen. He may also have picked up a thing or two from Kershaw –

But the most exciting development of all might be that of Kenley Jansen‘s health. In his first outing of 2019 spring training, Kenley’s fastball was sitting at 85-87 MPH. This spring? He’s easily hanging out at 92-93 in his first outing. He struck out two in his first inning of work and looked comfortable doing so. If the Big Man is closer to what he was in 2017, this bullpen is going to be fun to watch again.

Of course, it’s a long season and many things can happen over the next seven months. But with the way things are trending, it’s about time to get excited about Dodger baseball again.

 

Clayton Kershaw Begins 2020 Spring Training Full of Optimism

ck3
(Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time in a few years, Clayton Kershaw has entered spring camp with a full head of steam.

Continue reading “Clayton Kershaw Begins 2020 Spring Training Full of Optimism”

How David Price Might Fit into Dodgers’ Starting Rotation


img_4208

In keeping with the theme this winter, it’s been another long weekend of innuendo and teasing that a Dodgers trade that would acquire Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox. Many reports say a deal is ‘imminent’ and will happen today or tomorrow.

Continue reading “How David Price Might Fit into Dodgers’ Starting Rotation”

A Few Ideas How Dodgers Might Use Dustin May in 2020

dustin-may-3
(Photo Credit: Casey Gower)

Aside from all the opinions about the sign-stealing scandals, there were a few interesting bits of information that came out of Fan Fest this year, specifically one clue on how the Dodgers might use young right-hander Dustin May, at least towards the beginning of the season.

Continue reading “A Few Ideas How Dodgers Might Use Dustin May in 2020”

What Should Dodgers Expect from Clayton Kershaw in 2020?

kersh

There’s probably no other player on the Dodgers‘ active roster scrutinized more than lefty starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. When he was at the peak of his game just a few years ago, many folks rivaled his success with the legendary Sandy Koufax; but now that he is on the backside of his impressive career, there are actually some fans who feel he’s not even worthy of a rotation slot.

Continue reading “What Should Dodgers Expect from Clayton Kershaw in 2020?”

Additional Thoughts on the Prospective 2020 Starting Rotation

GettyImages-1049652760
(Getty Images photo)

No matter how you stack up all the pitchers involved in the landscape of the Dodgers‘ 2020 starting rotation, the fact remains that aside from two or three key pieces, almost anything is possible in the days leading up to Opening Day on March 26.

Continue reading “Additional Thoughts on the Prospective 2020 Starting Rotation”

Dodgers Reportedly Sign Alex Wood

wood3
(Los Angeles Times photo)

Almost exactly like we hypothesized a little over a week ago, the Dodgers reportedly signed Alex Wood to a one-year deal on Sunday, which coincidentally was Wood’s 29th birthday.

Continue reading “Dodgers Reportedly Sign Alex Wood”

A Little Background on Jimmy Nelson

image
(Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Following some patterns of our recent discussions, the Dodgers on Tuesday morning reportedly signed pitcher Jimmy Nelson to a one-year contract.

Continue reading “A Little Background on Jimmy Nelson”

Projecting a Preliminary Starting Rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City

santana
(Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers)

As we are all aware, starting rotations at the Triple-A level are very difficult to predict in the middle of the winter. Even though the big league starting five of the Dodgers is theoretically about 80% set, injuries, trades and free agent signings can impact all levels of the farm at any moment. Minor league rosters are often decided in the final hours leading to MLB’s Opening Day, but that doesn’t prevent us from speculating on how things might look at Oklahoma City right now.

Continue reading “Projecting a Preliminary Starting Rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City”

More Teams Actively Engaging with Hyun-Jin Ryu

hyun-jin-ryu2
(Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Continue reading “More Teams Actively Engaging with Hyun-Jin Ryu”