How Long Can The Dodgers Go On Without a Pitching Staff?

The Dodgers have finally climbed over the .500 mark with a 7-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday evening at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are back in the race and have now won 16 of their last 21 games. The way they are doing it is quite unbelievable. The Dodgers are winning games, without a pitching staff.

That’s right; the Dodgers no longer have a pitching staff any longer. Don’t believe me? Look at the last couple of weeks. Let’s first check the starting rotation which is currently being held together by several rookies, some duct tape and hope. The rotation consists of rookie Walker Buehler, Reliever turned starter Ross Stripling, Alex Wood, and a wing and a prayer. Now Buehler was removed from Friday’s game after 5.1 innings because he was experiencing pain in his ribs. If he goes down the Dodgers will be seriously hosed.

The Dodgers have run out of options. For the record, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Julio Urias, and Hyun-jin Ryu are all on the disabled list. None of them are due back anytime soon. Scratch that, Maeda is a possibility to return in the next week or two, but who knows. The Staff is basically comprised of Buehler, Stripling, Wood, Jansen and some minor league journeymen.

When the Dodger starters have toed the rubber they’ve performed well. The Dodger’s starting rotation has limited opposing hitters to a .235 batting average against and place sixth in MLB with a 3.51 ERA. What stands out most is the Dodger starters have allowed the least amount of walks (87) in all of baseball.

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Unfortunately the Dodger starters have provided the club with the least amount of length of any team in MLB. The Dodgers have gotten just 320.1 innings from their starters, which ranks them 29 out of the 30  major league teams. In comparison, the Dodger relievers have tossed 251 frames which is the third most in baseball. The relievers have overall pitched better over the course of this current hot streak, but still rank below average (17 out of 30 clubs) with a 4.05 ERA.

The lack of innings from the rotation is putting a huge strain on the bullpen and on the pitching staff in general. Journeymen Relievers are shuffled on and off the roster at a dizzying pace. Tony Cingrani has already been placed back on the disabled list, as has rookie Dennis Santana. The club has been forced to pilfer the Oklahoma City roster and it won’t be long before they’ll have to dip into the Tulsa roster.

The primary reason the Dodgers have been winning games is because the bats have finally awakened. If you’re scoring eight runs a game then you’re probably going to win on most nights. This is not going to last long. At some point the bats are going to cool down and the Dodgers will need an actual real pitching staff with healthy pitchers that provide innings.

Some of the new school guys will tell you this is great. They’ll explain that this is what Baseball is moving towards. They’ll tell you that starting pitching is overrated and obsolete. Nobody uses starting pitchers anymore they’ll say. You just have a pitching staff and play match-ups throughout the game. It’s ground breaking and revolutionary.

Unfortunately the side effect of this strategy are more blown arms, more injuries and tears on your pillow. You get an exhausted bullpen within a few days. It’s not a sustainable long term strategy for success. Dustin Nosler agrees with this as well, giving us an incredible stat.

Dodgers relief pitchers have pitched 54 innings in their last 10 games. The starters have pitched 35 innings.

That is a workload this bullpen — any bullpen — cannot sustain. The Dodgers’ bullpen wasn’t particularly good before this heavy workload, and to expect these guys to continue to pitch anywhere near this much and still be effective is a recipe for disaster.

It’s not entirely by blueprint. After all Dodger management is not at fault for all of these pitchers going down at the same time. Although the usage can play a huge part. Innings, length and health are a big part of a winning baseball club.

The Dodgers can’t go on like this for much longer. They’re going to have to find some pitchers who can give them some reliable innings. Don’t believe the hype. Starting pitching is still the name of the game. Let’s hope the Dodgers can find some before it’s too late.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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23 thoughts on “How Long Can The Dodgers Go On Without a Pitching Staff?

  1. We’ve got plenty of replacement parts in our system. Banuelos, DeFratus, Corcino, Lee, Ferguson, Sborz….. have some faith man. All we gotta do is keep averaging 7 runs a game and we should be ok.

      1. Oops. His name is still on the stat sheet.

        Well that changes everything, right? Who could take his place?

        Throw a dart, that’s who.

        Corey Copping. 40 Ks in 34 innings. Shea Spitzbarth. 36 Ks in 42 innings. 1.08 WHIP. We got arms. Spin that revolving door and throw some of those guys in.

  2. Players will get healthy.

    If not, low cost temporary starters (ala Juan Nicasio) can always be obtained for players named Mike or Jonny Ptbnl

  3. Everybody having fun? Exciting, huh? The new brand of Dodger baseball. Just keep getting pitchers you won’t remember next week. Really classy I tell ya.

      1. Mr. Norris
        I know many love to get the hurt or washed up players then talk about them or who may be released for some reason and then put together some sort or a plan to pitch them 1-3 innings and then decide that they have come up with a new technique to revolutionize baseball. It is just so exciting I can’t hardly stand it.

        1. Bore’s me to tears my man! Here is one for you…..Bellinger has HR’s in 4 straight games. The Dodger record is 5 straight games held by 4 players. Can you name them?

          1. Mr. Norris
            I give up. Who were they? I looked for the stat but could not locate it. Has Joc done 6?

          2. Roy Campanella, 1950, Shawn Green, 2001, Matt Kemp 2011, and Joc Pederson, 2015… no Dodger has ever hit HR’s in more than 5 games straight. The MLB record is 8 held by 3 players, Dale Long, who was a Pirate 1B at the time in the late 50’s, Ken Griffey Jr., and ………Don Mattingly……..Barry Bonds had streaks of 6 and 7 while he was roided up with the Giants. And Pack, call me Bear, not Mr. Norris….sounds like I am a principal or something!

  4. This isn’t how most of us would have scripted it, but it is where we are. I cannot bring myself to root for a FAZ failure, but I will be among those who point it out when it happens. We have had several years of very good teams, but we have yet to field a great one. If this team pulls it off it will be a miracle comparable to the ‘88 team. I’m aboard for the ride. When they win 16 of 21 they look like world beaters. It won’t happen regularly, but hopefully it happens in October.

  5. I see we did make an overlooked move. We hired a new pitching coach, Alex Viagra, he is going to work on Wood.

  6. I just don’t trust the FBZ to get it right with a midseason trade or a dumpster dive. I’ve seen enough over the past few years to know their very obvious strengths and weaknesses. I’d rather just give the innings to our youngsters in AAA and see what we’ve got there. Some of them, like Stripling, will use that experience to improve even if their stuff isn’t great. Others, like Stewart, who arguably has better stuff than Stripling, will take longer to figure things out, but at these we are giving them the opportunities and this will have a positive rippling effect through the minors. Kids will work harder.

    I still think Baez is a candidate to start games in 2-3 inning stints. But I realize I’m going on a limb here and will likely never be prove right or wrong.

    1. How long can they play Forsythe at second would be my question?

      If we don’t go ahead tonight, this will be the second game that an error from Forsythe cost us a game, in the last couple weeks.

      He has 7 errors already this year, and he has only swung at the first pitch three times, this year.

      They should give Muncy a chance at second.

    2. YF

      I understand your suggestion about Baez, because he has been better in the early innings of a game, before the sixth inning.

      And it seems like he has a rubber arm.

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