Even with nine games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Dodgers still have plenty of work to do before they begin preparing for any type of playoff appearance. Still, the club is experiencing success in just about all aspects of play right now, but lately, it’s been the starting pitching that’s been the most effective and dominant.
Considering all the obstacles the Dodgers have faced over the course of the 2018 season, starting pitching has not been one of them. Sure, there have been quite a few injuries, but each hurdle prompted somebody new to step into the group and perform admirably. Heck, even young righty Brock Stewart deserves some kudos for the hundreds of thousands of frequent-flyer miles he racked up before the All-Star break.
The Dodgers are facing a tough road to make it back to the World Series. With the loss of Kenley Jansen, a starting rotation not always looking as sharp as they could be (see Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda), and very close divisional race, the next few months are going to be interesting indeed.
Long before the 2018 starting rotation picture began to sort itself out, many folks close to the Dodgers believed that Hyun-Jin Ryu was embarking upon a potentially career-best season, just in time for him to successfully test the free agent market during the coming winter months. Through the end of April of this year, the 31-year-old southpaw had posted a 3-0 record with a 2.12 ERA, a 0.867 WHIP and an outrageous 10.9 K/9, at least by his own standards. Before the emergence of Ross Stripling, and with staff ace Clayton Kershaw fighting off several different ailments, Ryu was leading the charge of the entire Los Angeles pitching staff.
Although it’s been awhile since we’ve taken a look at the starting rotation of the Dodgers as a whole, the unit is far and away the best on the Senior Circuit with a 3.31 ERA, if you’re into that sort of stat. Even in terms of WHIP and OBPA, Dodgers starters still comfortably lead the NL pack. If we look at how good the Los Angeles rotation is on a broader scale, there are certainly several groups in the American League which may be better, but that’s something the club can consider later in the season, if the team is indeed able to clinch a spot in the postseason.
Seemingly, the starting rotation of the Dodgers continues to get healthier. Many fans of the team were curious to know how management would handle an overcrowded starting five, and they got their answer when Rich Hill was relegated to the bullpen just days before the All-Star break. Now, with the rotation appearing to be at full strength, followers are contemplating whether or not there’s enough firepower to make some noise in the playoffs.
For as long as the starting rotation of the Dodgers has been bitten by the injury bug so far this season, to say that it’s relieving to see the crew getting healthier would be an understatement. Furthermore, based on the current state of all the available starters in the organization, many fans are wondering if the front office will be searching for another starter to add to the mix as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
If you happened to catch one of several breaking stories during Monday’s rather lengthy delay in Chicago, you would have learned that staff ace Clayton Kershaw may soon be ready for major league action, coming one step closer to bringing the club’s starting rotation back to the original Opening day five.
As the players on the 25-man roster seemingly continue to drop like flies, the Dodgers are still finding ways to win baseball games. Thanks mainly to a red-hot offense, the team has won 16 of its last 21 games and are now one game above the .500 mark for the first time since April 23.
The Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson from Triple-A Oklahoma City, with the youngster slated to make his big league debut with a start against the Pirates.