Pitching is a Fragile Thing

I’ve commented plenty on how the Dodgers are relying this coming season on far too many pitchers whose careers have been dominated by serious injuries and who have seldom if ever been healthy enough to pitch even a single full season. The projected starting staff for 2015 includes both Brandan McCarthy and Brett Anderson, who have one healthy major league season between them. In the background are a slew of other starters with

questionable health histories, all lined up for the opportunities that will surely come when injuries strike: Brandon Beachy (who will miss the first few months recovering from surgery), Dustin McGowan (perhaps penciled in as a reliever but whose career has been primarily that of a starter), Erik Bedard, Chad Gaudin, and David Huff.

Now, just a couple of weeks before the season
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opener, Hyun-Jin Ryu has had a re-occurrence of the sore shoulder that has landed him on the disabled list for portions of each of his first two seasons, and that now will force him to miss at least a couple of early season starts.

And then today an event occurred that could have been devastating to the Dodgers – Baseball’s best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, the ace around whom not just the pitching staff revolves,but the entire team, was hit in the face by a batted ball off the bat of the Oakland A’s Andy Parrino. On impact with the pitch, Parrino’s bat shattered, thus the force and speed of the batted ball was greatly reduced, but still it was an ominous and painful sight to see, and until he got up from the ground and post-exam smiled, walked around, and threw a practice pitch, there was no way of knowing if it was a non-injury glancing blow, or a serious event that could have kept Kershaw off the mound for days, weeks, or months.

The 2015 Major League Baseball Season opens Sunday, April 5, with the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Cubs in Chicago. The Dodgers open their season the next day, with a game at Dodgers' Stadium against former Dodgers' star Matt Kemp and the San Diego Padres. The Angels open against division rival Seattle Mariners in Seattle also on Monday, April 6, and they have their home opener against the defending American League champion Kansas City Royals on Friday, April 10. Tickets to all these games and to every other home opener are available Right Here, Right Now, from Razorgator.

There would be no replacing Kershaw, but an able-bodied starter would be needed should Kershaw have suffered a disabling injury, and given that one of those listed above would already be starting in Ryu’s place, who next could be called upon to fill the such a major void in the rotation? I could see and feel it as I looked over and over at the video (of course there is no seeing it live in 70% of the area where SportsNet LA continues to be unavailable), a season opening rotation of Zack Greinke, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Chad Gaudin and Erik Bedard.

McCarthy, who had his only injury-free season last year (really, can your realistically count on two in a row?) was clobbered by the Cubs in his last start Wednesday, giving up six

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earned runs, eight hits and a walk, in only four innings, and he now has a shining 8.00 spring training ERA. Yesterday was Anderson's turn against the struggling Angels, and he only lasted one and two-thirds innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, all earned. His spring training ERA now stands at 7.36.

Getting back to should pain, with Kenley Janson out for the first two or three months of the season and no adequate replacement as closer on or near the Dodgers’ roster, there was growing fear that Brandon League could end up getting that assignment. Well, League has his own shoulder problems and is currently out for a least a few days. By the way, his spring training ERA before being shut down was 33.83. That goes well with other pretenders to the interim closer’s spot – J.P. Howell – 18.00, Joel Peralta – 9.00, Carlos Frias – 5.78, McGowan – 13.50, and Juan Nicasio who could end up starting, relieving, or anywhere, 9.00.

In an exceedingly weak division, the Dodgers may not have the pitching to compete.

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