Today the Dodgers announced the news we’ve been dreading to hear for the last week or so. They’ve placed rookie right hander Walker Buehler on the 10-day disabled list. Medical examinations revealed he has a microfracture in his ribs from that line drive he took in the mid section during a start against the Rockies a few weeks ago. Tonight the Dodgers will be starting another rookie Caleb Ferguson against the Rangers. He’ll be making his second career MLB start.
Today, the Dodgers recalled LHP Caleb Ferguson from Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed Walker Buehler on the 10-day DL (right rib microfracture).
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 12, 2018
The Dodgers are hoping that Buehler will only miss a couple of weeks and it can’t be overstated just how valuable he’s been to the Dodgers pitching staff. Over his nine starts in 2018 Buehler has a 4-1 record with a 2.63 ERA. In 51.1 innings pitched Buehler has struck out 54 and walked 11. He’s allowed just two home runs and has given up 6.7 hits per nine innings. He’s also struck out 9.5 per nine innings pitched and has posted an FIP of 2.26. The kid has been fantastic and it’s a huge loss for the Dodgers.
Needless to say, Buehler has been a revelation. The Dodgers are in big trouble here. Even with the news that Kenta Maeda is due to be activated off the disabled list tomorrow night, the Dodgers still have only three starting pitchers. Nearly the entire pitching staff is on the disabled list. As of right now the Dodger’s pitching staff consists of Ross Stripling, Maeda (if healthy), Caleb Ferguson, Kenley Jansen and a bunch of castoff middle relievers. Even with Maeda due back, he’ll likely be on some kind of pitch count so I doubt he’s allowed to pitch more than 4-5 innings anyways. That means the bullpen has to once again give the Dodgers 6 or more innings of relief.
I don’t care what anyone tells you, starting pitching is still and will always be the name of the game. The Dodger starting rotation has provided them with the least amount of innings in all of baseball. The relievers have pitched the most innings of any other club. This is simply put, common sense. The Dodgers (like any other MLB team) must get innings and health from their starting rotation in order to make it through the long season. The bullpen can’t pitch 6-7 innings every night or the relievers will start to drop like flies.
As I have decried on this blog for the last three years now, innings, health and length are important for a major league pitching staff. If the bullpen is pitching 6-7 innings per game, or 7-8 relievers are pitching every night then that is a recipe for disaster. The Dodgers can’t operate like this for much longer. Eventually it’s going to catch up with them, whether that is tonight, or two weeks from now. The Dodgers need pitching and they need it yesterday. Pick up the phone Mr. Friedman and get something done before this patchwork pitching staff feels the burn.