Last nights’ loss to the Diamondbacks might have exposed a the Dodgers’ Achilles Heal. Some Dodgers’ fans rightfully would tell me not to worry because the season is still young. I would probably agree with them if the exposed Achilles Heal was any other area but this one. And what area am I so worry about, you ask?
And I reply. The exposed area is in their pitching rotation and to be more specific, the inning pitched.
The only pitcher that lasted well into the game is the Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw while the others bearly make it five innings. This played out again last night when Brandon McCarthy left the game after five innings.
The game Dodgers had been up 2-0 when McCarthy gave up two runs that tied the game. His early departure force overworked relievers to finish up, and it resulted in the Diamondbacks getting two more runs to break the tie and win the game.
Why were the relievers overworked? Because they had to work extra innings after early departures of other starting pitchers. Below I have statistics that will make my case.
Innings The Pitched
Clayton Kershaw 21.1
Brandon McCarthy 17.0
Kenta Maeda 14.0
Hyun-Jin Ryu 9.1
Rich Hill 8.0 (Hill played in two games because he was on the DL)
|04/14||vs ARI||W 7-1||8.1||4||1||1||0||1||8||9||11||29||100||W(2-1)||—||2.53|
|04/08||@ COL||L 2-4||6.0||8||4||4||3||0||6||11||9||26||100||L(1-1)||—||3.46|
|04/03||vs SD||W 14-3||7.0||2||2||1||1||0||8||6||10||24||84||W(1-0)||—||1.29|
|04/17||vs ARI||L 2-4||5.0||5||2||2||0||3||8||7||3||21||86||—||—||2.12|
|04/12||@ CHC||W 2-0||6.0||4||0||0||0||3||4||8||6||21||91||W(2-0)||—||1.50|
|04/06||vs SD||W 10-2||6.0||4||2||2||1||1||4||8||10||23||78||W(1-0)||—||3.00|
|10 GAME LOG|
|04/15||vs ARI||W 8-4||4.0||4||4||4||1||1||5||3||8||17||71||—||—||7.07|
|04/09||@ COL||W 10-6||5.0||5||4||4||1||1||5||5||11||22||83||W(1-1)||—||6.30|
|04/04||vs SD||L 0-4||5.0||6||3||3||1||2||4||6||9||21||75||L(0-1)||—||5.40|
|04/13||@ CHC||L 0-4||4.2||6||4||4||2||2||5||6||7||21||77||L(0-2)||—||5.79|
|04/07||@ COL||L 1-2||4.2||6||2||2||1||1||5||8||7||21||77||L(0-1)||—||3.86|
|04/16||vs ARI||L 1-3||3.0||5||2||2||1||2||2||4||7||15||54||L(1-1)||—||3.38|
|04/05||vs SD||W 3-1||5.0||2||1||1||1||3||5||6||4||18||75||W(1-0)||—||1.80|
Alex Wood (Even though Wood isn’t part of the starting rotation, He did take Hill’s place for the Chicago series and will back in place of Hill again. Hill is on the DL again.)
|04/15||vs ARI||W 8-4||3.1||0||0||0||0||0||3||8||1||12||41||W(1-0)||—||1.00|
|04/10||@ CHC||L 2-3||3.2||3||2||1||0||5||4||4||6||19||70||—||—||1.59|
|04/05||vs SD||W 3-1||2.0||0||0||0||0||1||1||2||3||7||22||—||H(1)||0.00|
I want to start with Alex Wood since he will be back in the rotation. He only lasted 3.2 innings in his only start. That resulted in six innings being filled by relievers,
Then you have Hill who has not got past five innings and leaving Sunday’s game after three because of a reoccurring blister. Again relievers have to come into the game for four and six innings respectfully.
These early departures from games are putting a strain on the relievers. Unlike Kershaw who last six innings and sometimes seven where you use maybe two or three relievers, you are using four to six relievers. These early departures are happening on regular basis and thus the relievers are pitching more with less rest. If this pace of early departures keeps up, the relievers will be burnt out by the All-Star Break.
So the Dodgers are either gonna have to find some way of getting longevity from their starters or seriously look into making replacements. Neither option has easy answers.
Do not use the Padres’ series as a standard to judge how well the Dodgers starting rotation will do against the Giants their next opponent. Rather think of it as an anomaly. An anomaly that may not repeat itself.
R.J, Anderson of CBS Sports posted a very interesting article (link to article) regarding the Dodgers’ rotation after their surprising performance against Padres which puts everything into the proper perspective, In the article he points to the Padres’ hitting debacle for the reason their rotation success. You see during the series, the Padres did not change their lineup even though it did not produce any runs. A change in the lineup could have a least produce some runs if not a win.
This Lineup debacle could be the reason that Kazmir won on Tuesday as Aderson put it, We will see how really good he pitches when he faces the Giants on Sunday. So far after their first three games, the Giants rank fourth and have combined total of 17 runs and 28 hits after 103 at bats they have an average of .272. This is far better than the Padres who are ranked at 15 with 0 runs 11 hits and batting average of .120 and he faced on Tuesday.
The Dodgers have another suspect pitcher Alex Wood who will be tonight’s starter. He still has to prove that he can win a game. He lost three of his five starts while not garnering a win during spring training.
Their fifth starter Ross Stripling will start against the Giants on Friday which will be his first pro start. While I would not consider suspect, it would be because I do not have enough information about him to consider him suspect.
So let me break it down this way. The Dodgers are going into San Fransico with a suspect rotation that got lucky in San Diago, This rotation who has one known dependable pitcher, Kershaw. While I like Maeda and I know more about what Kershaw could do. Kazmir and Woods, you know what they can do thus leaving you with an unfavorable impression. Stripling has shown some promise, but there is not enough to be comfortable with him.
Will this be enough to pull off victories? I only know that the Kershaw pitches will be a winner.
The Dodgers open up their season with a three series in sunny and warm San Diego and I would like to introduce you the Dodgers’ starting pitchers for the three-game series. The dependable Clayton Kershaw will be starting in today’s game. He will be followed by new acquired Scott Kazmir tomorrow, and also, newly acquired Kenta Maeda on Tuesday.
Kershaw finished spring training 2 wins and 0 losses in six games. He allowed 23 hits in the 23 innings that he pitched. He allowed just 5 runs. He finished with 1.96 ERA. Yes, he looks ready for today’s game.
While I have no concerns about Kershaw in today’s game, I do worry about tomorrow’s starting pitcher, Scott Kazmir. Maybe that is because I had grown accustomed to having the other reliable pitcher Zach Greinke in the number two spot in the rotation. But alas, the Dodgers foolishly let him go to their Western Division rivals the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Don’t think of me as to being too hard on Kazmir and that maybe I should give a chance. But then I look at his performance during spring training, I think otherwise. In the 5 games that he started, he gave up 12 runs and 25 hits. He has an ERA of 5.51. His ERA alone makes you miss Greinke’s under 2.00 ERA one of the lowest in the league last year. His pitching velocity has dropped below 90. He has been clocked somewhere between 85 to 89. Can you imagine his fastball being clocked at 85? All this makes me a little weary having him pitch in the number two spot.
But in game three, I am very happy with newly acquired Kenta Maeda starting in the third game of the series. Maeda was acquired before spring Training. He formerly played in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball for the Hiroshima Yoyo Carp. He finished this spring with 1 win and 2 losses in six starts. He gave 18 hits and 9 runs with a 2.35 ERA. This is a lot better Kazmir’s final totals.
As I written above I have no problems with Kershaw and Maeda, but I am not comfortable with Kazmir starting. I just hope that Kazmir proves my concerns wrong.