The Up-and-Down Status of Dodgers’ Pitching

Despite the Dodgers increasing lead over the Giants in the the NL West Division and despite having the league’s best record, the Dodgers’ starting staff is really in a strange position right now. On one hand, Clayton Kershaw is the dominant pitcher in major league baseball and solidifying himself not just as the odds on Cy Young winner again, but also as the leader in the National League’s MVP race. But then, there is the rest of the staff.

Zack Greinke has lost four of his last five decisions and in his last two games, losses to the Angels and Brewers, gave up nine runs, seven of them earned, in 13 innings. Hyun-Jin Ryu has continued to pitch very well, but has now been sidelined by a strained gluteus muscle after being forced out of his last start in the sixth inning. After one of the worst outings of his career

on July 8th in Detroit (seven earned in 2-1/3 inning), he had a string of five strong appearances, which included a season high 10 strikeouts in only six innings against San Diego. He is both said to be day-to-day and to be scratched from his next start. The thinking here is that he will miss more than one start.

After Josh Beckett was sidelined, likely for the season, this week it was determined that
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Stephen Fife, always the next guy in line, except for when he also has been injured, is now up for Tommy John surgery and cannot be expected to pitch competitively until next summer. Paul Maholm, who began the season filling in for Beckett in the number five slot, and then did a much better job spot starting and in relief, was then sidelined for the season as well. The good news is that Dan Haren has had two consecutive quality starts, winning both, after a disastrous streak of five straight losses in which he consistently pitched extremely poorly.

So, of the six guys that began the year figuring to get the bulk of starts throughout the season, as of now the Dodgers have only three of them left. So, enter the two guys I’ve been talking about, Roberto “Fausto Carmona” Hernandez, and Kevin Correia. Correia pitched

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LA Dodgers Yasiel Puig
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very well in his first Dodgers' start, and will likely continue in the rotation so long as Ryu is out. Fausto has really been a surprise, doing good in his first two starts (three earned in 12 innings) and figures to have to pitch himself out of the rotation.

On the farm, the future is Julio Urias, one of the system's prizes that Ned Colletti and the team refused to part with in any deal discussed over the past few weeks, and yesterday, in his first game after turning 18 he struck out a
career high nine in only five innings pitched. For the season in A+ Rancho Cucamonga, Urias has struck out 87 in 72.1 innings and has a 2.86 ERA. He has improved his strike out-to-walk ration from 4.19 in his first pro season last year, to 2.72 this year.

Kershaw, Greinke, Haren, Hernandez and Correia is not quite the same thing as Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Haren and Beckett, but then again, the Giants collapse has made the NL West a lot easier to deal with. So long as the Dodgers have a solid four starters for the playoffs, they should be ok.

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