There is a reason the Dodgers are stuck in second place, chasing the San Francisco Giants in the National League West for nearly the entire 2021 season. The Dodgers entered the all-star break with the second-best record in the National League (56-35) but two games behind the stupid Giants in the NL West. There are several reasons why the Dodgers have been unable to catch the Giants. One glaring problem that has resurfaced has been the lack of starting pitching depth.
Before the season started, I wrote this article, detailing the weaknesses I saw in the Dodger’s roster. The Dodgers are a good club, but there were a few holes that could possibly hold them back. Every one of the deficiencies I pointed out have become accurate. The weak bench, inconsistent offense, and poor play from Gavin Lux have been the primary problems. Of course, injuries have played a huge part in the Dodger’s quest to lose to the Padres in the National League Wild Card game too.
One of the biggest issues that I noticed during spring training was the Dodger’s complete and total lack of any starting pitching depth. The Dodgers have no starting pitching, and it seems as if they are aware of the massive flaw but don’t care. The Dodgers started the season with five starters, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Trevor Bauer, and Dustin May. However, beyond those five there is nobody within the entire organization, major leagues or minor leagues that can start a baseball game. It’s unbelievable.
The only Dodger pitchers outside those front five that could possibly start a game, David Price and Tony Gonsolin, were not able to do so throughout most of the season. Gonsolin was battling a shoulder injury, and the Dodgers decided to move David Price into the bullpen, refusing to use him as a starter, or stretch him out if there was a need for him to start. At the time it was fine, since the Dodgers had five starters, but if anyone got hurt, the Dodgers did not have the pitching depth to plug the potential holes in the rotation. I noticed this early on, and I am sure at least some of you did too.
Naturally when I point these things out some people ignore me, or they tell me I’m negative. I like to point out potential issues early in hopes that with enough public opinion pointing out an obvious flaw, the Dodger’s management will fix the issue that is causing them to stumble. Again, I am sure the Dodger front office knows about this chink in the armor, which is a big part of the issue. They knew about this and did not do anything to prevent it. They went into the season blatantly without any depth, something they have been well known for during the Andrew Friedman era.
So what do you think happened? The starters went down like dominoes. First Dustin May blew out his elbow, eventually succumbing to Tommy John surgery. He is out until sometime in 2022. But hey the Dodgers still had four starters. Since the Dodgers had nobody to replace him, (they still refused to use Price as a starter) they were forced to use bullpen games for that spot in the rotation. It wasn’t pretty, but the Dodgers have a pretty effective bullpen and were able to skip the spot in the rotation using built-in off days. They would be ok, as long as nobody else got hurt. They were rolling along, until….
Trevor Bauer is a mental case and was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball while they investigate a sexual assault allegation. Then the Dodgers only had three starters. Now they had to use two bullpen games per week. Middle relievers were already overworked and dropping like flies. Then Clayton Kershaw got hurt. The southpaw ace came down with left elbow inflammation and the Dodgers placed him on the injured list. The Dodgers are now down to just two starters, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias. The Dodgers are doing the best they can given this ungodly situation. They finally decided to insert Price in the rotation and Tony Gonsolin actually pitched into the sixth inning during one of his starts before the all-star break.
Unfortunately, they waited too long to make the decision on Price and he’s not built up yet. Gonsolin rarely is able to pitch more than three innings in any start. It’s unfathomable to think that the Dodgers, the richest team in MLB, the defending World Series Champions have absolutely no starting pitchers in the minor leagues to call up. The lone minor league starter is prospect Josiah Gray, who is also injured. Otherwise, they don’t have anybody. NOBODY, just a hoard of middle relievers. The reality of the Dodgers, THE DODGERS not having one damn starting pitcher in the entire organization to make some spot starts is mind boggling.
I know what you are saying. The Dodgers have been doing well anyways, and hey they are over 20 games above .500, second best record in the NL. Certainly they have played well. But I say they’ve played well despite this problem, not because of it. Yes, I agree you can win without starting pitching. Certainly you can parade around 7-9 middle relievers per game and still win. But it’s a big gigantic struggle.
And that’s just my point. It doesn’t have to be a struggle for the Dodgers. Yet it is right now. They have no idea who’s pitching from inning to inning let alone day-to-day. Multiple middle relievers such as Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol, Scott Alexander, and Jimmy Nelson just to name a few, have bounced on and off the injured list all season.
That’s my biggest complaint about the Andrew Friedman regime. Him and his guys have placed little to no value on starting pitching. He’s acquired very few good starters. Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, and the drafted Walker Buehler come to mind, but few others on his side of the ledger. New school kids can tell me whatever you want, but starting pitching is the name of the game folks and that will never EVER change. The teams that have great starting pitching will go far and contend for championships. The teams that don’t can compete, but it will be a big struggle. The Dodgers are struggling right now to figure out who is pitching, and the bullpen is going to be destroyed by September. They better figure this out and quickly.
7 thoughts on “The Dodgers Have No Starting Pitching and It’s Mind-Boggling”
With the sad news that Kershaw is now out longer than expected, the Dodgers are definitely in need of at least a couple of game ready, legitimate starters. The revolving door in the bullpen continues to spin (great spin rate!), as they even stooped so low as to sign a DFA’d Gnat…. How low must they go?
With the Dodger Brass’ reluctance to add some legitimate starting pitching, they basically have had to rely on bullpen games, one for sure, and two more with Price and Gonsolin still limited with pitch counts and unable to get at least 5-6 innings in. It does not help that Dodger defensive lapses have given the opposition 4-5 outs per inning, forcing the starters to waste 10-12 extra pitches. How long must DR handle Gonsolin and Price with kid gloves? Especially Price, who is a Cy Young winning starter. Price should at least be able to go 6-7 innings by now. The early hooks have taxed the bullpen. Isn’t it time to nix the pitch limits, and kick Price and Gonsolin out of their protective nests?
Offensive lapses have also continued to put pressure on the pitching staff to be better than perfect. The RISP, and KO’s have prevented the Dodgers from giving the pitchers an adequate cushion of runs. Jansen needs at least a three run cushion. The days of Kenley slamming the door shut are long gone, just a memory anymore.
The only real issue I have with the pitching staff, is their inability to hold runners, prevent stealing, and pitch effectively with runners on base. The extra inning rule, putting a runner on 2nd is not working favorably for the Dodgers both offensively and defensively. Offensively, RISP again comes into play. Instead of playing smart and focusing on moving the runner and bringing him in, the Dodger hitters still rely on the the longball, resulting in pop outs, KO’s, GIDP, or force outs . Then, defensively, the opposition is free to run unchecked on the bases, and whomever is on the bump (especially Kenley) are prone to making mistakes due to the distraction of having to try and hold runners.
It is truly a miracle that they are still in the race, one game out of first. But without substantial pitching, their goose is cooked. There are going to be a lot of dead arms in the bullpen, come game 162.
Who Farted? From the look on Gavin Lux face, somebody did.
Maybe it was DR, when he unexpectedly had to pull Betts from the lineup just before game time.
Maybe it was “The Catman” Gonsolin, who could only muster 3 1/3 innings before DR had to clip his slippery paws and go to Plan B, Emergency Bullpen Game. Gonsolin seemed to be lacking a bit of “The Sticky Stuff”. Could he have been a Bauer disciple?
Maybe it was Victor Gonzales who was a bit rusty coming off the IL and right into the fire.
Maybe it was the Dodger offense. Another depressing 0-5 RISP. 7 LOB, and 11 KO’s. Long ball with nobody on is obviously nice, but the inability to manufacture runs and bring baserunners in, continues to be the Dodgers’ Achilles Heel. Does Kelan-Jobe have a surgery that will repair an Achilles Heel?
An embarrassment, to say the least. Not the way to open up a head-to-head matchup with the hated ones.
The Dodgers are just unable to compete with only two starters and a overused bullpen.
Well, Urias gave it all, pitched a strong 7. And despite one bad pitch, he still held the Gnats at bay….left it on the table. Dodgers stagnant offense could only muster two runs, but the Dodgers at least had the lead going into the 9th. Offense has to wake up. Way too many wasted scoring opportunities. CT3 cannot do it alone. Bellinger needs to drop in the lineup… maybe 8th or 9th. The Dodger pitchers are better hitters, for Christ’s Sake! From Belli-Bomb, to Belli-Flop… but they do need his glove out there. If they ever go to universal DH, maybe the Dodgers should DH for Belli-Flop, and let the pitchers hit for themselves. A wasted opportunity to swat the Gnats out of first. Losses like these are unacceptable!
Today, Jansen farted again, Big Time! Wasted a supreme, quality start. The Dodgers cannot afford to waste quality starts from their only two starters, who just happen to be two of the best in the league. Kenley cries about how he is disrespected….Cries about how he was snubbed for the All Stars. Talks about how great he is. Well, He has to stop his whining, and do his job. He only has one job to do, pitch one inning and slam the door shut. He is a closer, right? I think it is time to strip Jansen of his Closer role and pass the baton to Treinen, or anybody else. Giving up a leadoff single, a two-run homer, a solid double and two walks is not what the doctor ordered (or, is it exactly what Doc Roberts had ordered?). Jansen’s constant failures outweigh his effectiveness as a closer. He has lost his mojo. Looks like a deer in headlights on the mound. He cannot pitch with runners on base. He cannot afford to give up free passes. He cannot stop the opposition’s running game. He is not the guy you want on the bump, with a one run lead, or in extra innings, with a runner on 2nd, and the game on the line. I cringe every time he gets the call from DR.
Home plate umpire Fletcher’s erratic strike zone did not help matters either…but that is another topic for discussion.
It is a miracle that the Dodgers still have the 2nd best record in MLB, even with all their injuries and shortcomings. Maybe I do not give them enough credit, but with all these blown games, could you imagine how big a lead they should have? They should be dominating the league.
Hey Dodger Fans…. convinced yet? Jansen sucks….
Period. End of story. Three blown saves ago
I think everyone is convinced at this point.
“R-I-S-P”!!! Wasted scoring opportunities!!! This time, 2-12 RISP, 7 KO’s, 22 stranded runners. Unacceptable! Probably would have been higher if Belli-Flop started. Another opportunity to gain on the Hated Ones, Wasted.
A dismal performance by the Dodgers, who fail to conquer the AAA Angels.
The Dodgers odds of winning an extra inning game are slim to none, when the team cannot capitalize with runners on base. The game should not have even gone to the 10th, if the Dodgers would just cash in on RISP…. Nothing but popups, and KO’s.
They cannot even feed off the energy of the loyal fans, or an epic performance by Scherzer, more often than not, the offense flatlining at the plate. Yes, they added Mad Max, but even with Max, Buehler, and Urias, the offense comes up short to offer up any run support or enough insurance runs to survive G-A$$-Kenley meltdowns…. No lead is safe.
Dodgers are still shorthanded starter or two, with glass half empty Kershaw, Gonsolin, and Price unable to perform as championship starters.
When will the David Price Experiment end? Face it, he is washed up.
Who knows when Kershaw will get off his A$$ and contribute? What’s up, trainers?
Who knows when Gonsolin will return? Hello? trainers? Anybody home?
Betts is hurt again…. Hey trainers, do your job!
Hey offense, change your approach at the plate and be more productive.
What a roller coaster ride. The ups and downs of the World Champs is inexcusable. Yes, some may say it is because of injuries. Yes, injuries come with playing any sport. But, have you ever seen a team that goes out on the field and totally wastes scoring opportunities and fails to provide any run support, a starting rotation that can barely make it through 4-5 innings before running out of gas.
Well, if you ask me, their lackluster play is an indication that these guys don’t give a damn. Their performance probably parallels their approach to the game. They probably do not work out and stretch properly, which can be why so many players are injured. Yes, you can go through the motions of working out, but if you are lazy, not doing so properly, you are setting yourself up for injury. Are the trainers supervising the workouts? Are the players taking workouts seriously, and listening to the trainers?
All the arm injuries can also be attributed to lackadaisical workouts, but also from overuse due to lack of solid starting pitching, and over dependence on bullpen games.
Just six more weeks left, and cannot gain ground on the Hated Ones. The Dodgers may be lucky and gain a wild card, but a repeat Western Division Championship is slipping away, as the Dodgers continue to blow games. All those blown games early on in the season may come back and bite them in the a$$. “Just win the series” attitude will not do it at this point in the season, especially if the Gnats continue to win.