Pitching Still Dreadful, Dodgers Lose Again

If you’re complaining about the Dodger hitting right now then I think you probably haven’t been watching the games. For the people that are I would remind them that the offense is the only reason the Dodgers aren’t like 0-15 right now. The Dodgers lost their fifth consecutive game on Friday night 8-5 to the Milwaukee Brewers but it wasn’t because they couldn’t score. The bats scored five runs, notched 12 hits and hit three home runs. They scored seven runs yesterday against the Cardinals. They’re one of the most productive hitting teams in baseball right now. If it weren’t for the bats the Dodgers would have been completely unwatchable these first two weeks of the season.

The Dodgers are losing because the pitching has been unimaginably dreadful. The pitching has been almost horrific so far. The Dodger pitching staff is one of the worst in the National League and it was that same sorry staff that gave up eight runs to the Brewers tonight.

At first it was just the relievers. At least the starting pitching was effective and we could at least take solace in knowing that if the Dodgers could just straighten out their bullpen or somehow acquire better relievers that things would get better. But now even the starters are having bad outings and it’s disconcerting.

Brewers 8 12 0

Dodgers 5 12 1

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Dodger starter Julio Urias gave up five earned runs, six earned after an unearned run scored on his own throwing error over five innings. Then the bullpen gave up an additional two runs to dig the club further in a hole. The Brewer’s starter Corbin Burnes was bad too. He gave up five earned runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings. But the difference was that Milwaukee’s bullpen tossed 4.2 scoreless innings (using five relievers) while the Dodger’s bullpen gave up two runs on six hits including a ninth-inning balk from Kenley Jansen. Joe Kelly again gave up a run on three hits in an inning and a third. The Dodgers have not allowed less than four runs in a game this season. The pitching is that bad.

Urias served up two home runs in the top of the fourth and fifth frames respectively. One was a two-run home run to former Dodger Yasmani Grandal (of course) in his first game back at Dodger Stadium as an opposing player. The other was a two-run shot from Hernan Perez that erased a 3-2 Dodger lead and put the Brewers up 4-3, and then also erased a 5-4 Dodger lead and put the Brewers up 6-5. Each time the Dodgers climbed back to retake the lead, the pitching staff immediately gave it right back. The Dodgers hit three home runs, a solo home run from Corey Seager in the first inning, a two-run blast from Cody Bellinger in the third (his National League leading eighth) and a two-run dong from Joc Pederson in the fifth.

It’s a shame the Dodger’s productive offense is being wasted by such pathetic pitching. This is one of the worst stretches for the pitching staff we’ve seen in some time. The good thing is that it’s early and there is plenty of time for the Dodgers to turn things around. I’m sure you’ve heard that way too many times and you’re probably sick of hearing it. So what can the Dodgers do at this stage in the season?

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Honestly there is not much they can do. Clayton Kershaw is due back on Monday. Rich Hill shouldn’t be far behind him. The rest of the starters, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias should eventually start to pitch up to their talent levels. The bullpen is the most concerning.

The Dodgers could dip into their minor leagues and call up a couple of fresh arms like Kevin Quackenbush or Justin Grimm. Those guys may not help. When Kershaw and Hill return they could move Stripling or Urias into the bullpen and addition by subtraction could make things better. Or perhaps they call up Dustin May or one of the other top pitching prospects.

I think we just need to be patient for a few more weeks and hope the bats can keep them afloat. I mean Scott Alexander looks much improved. Caleb Ferguson is still a very good young pitcher. Kenley Jansen is healthy. That’s about all I can say right now. The series goes on tomorrow. I have no idea who pitches for the Dodgers on Saturday. It’s looking probable that it will be a bullpen game, some annoying hybrid where Dennis Santana pitches three innings and the other relievers pitch the rest of the game. Don’t expect them to win unless the offense scores like 12 runs again. Unless the offense continues to outscore the terrible pitching then don’t expect much winning until the pitching staff gets sorted. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PM PST on Saturday.

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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16 thoughts on “Pitching Still Dreadful, Dodgers Lose Again

  1. Well Scott, the bats have not kept them afloat. Not with the atrocious pitching we’ve seen from the ‘starters’. Tonight’s loss was a mirror of the last loss to the Cards. 5 losses in a row. Even in our last win, which was against the Rockies, they gave up 6 earned runs and today’s loss, they gave up 7 ER’s. Urias has given up 5 ERs each in his last 2 games. All of the 5 losses, the minimum ER was 4 from the starters. Even the wins against Colorado had 2 games where we gave up 6 ER’s and the starters gave up 5 in each game! Every starter has had at least 2 games of 4 or more ER’s.

    For once, we can say that the bats are not the problem and the losses are certainly not on them. If we focus on pitching, calling up guys like Quackenbush, who had a horrid ST, is asking for trouble. You could make an argument that Kelly should be sent down along with Baez and Garcia. Of course, Roberts is trying to give Kelly every chance that he can, but it is not working. Let him work it out in the minors. The heck with his $25M contract. We need some solid starters because this wild bunch ain’t doin’ it. Plus, Strip and Urias are definitely headed to the BP.

  2. You are right, Badger. Similar start as last year. Things definitely can turn around, but still wonder if they have what it takes to return to the NL Championship, let alone the World Series.

    My main concern is their pitching. Starting rotation is not good enough. Nobody wants to step up and assume the role of “Ace” of the staff. Who knows how well Kershaw, Hill, and Ryu will return. One thing for sure, it is a long season, and I see Kershaw and Ryu making several trips to the IL, Kershaw will have to surrender his “Ace” status, maybe to a costly acquisition. Kelly is a bust. Somebody read those spreadsheets wrong…. either they were upside down, or filtered by “vs. Dodgers”. A $30 million dollar mistake, for sure. That “ANAL-yst” should be fired… can Friedman fire himself? Kenley showing signs that he will have to relinquish his “Closer” role. Three huge contracts (Kershaw, Jansen, and Kelly) that the Dodgers are stuck with for years to come. Remaining starters, Maeda, Strips, Urias, and Buehler are proving to be merely 5-inning men. They need to re-condition themselves to go at least 100+ pitches, and/or 7 innings…. they are totally out of gas by the fourth inning. I blame their shortcomings on how management trains them. Dodgers Management, wearing rose colored glasses, thinks they have an invincible Bullpen, and end up pulling their starters too soon, so the starters tend to think they only need to go 5 innings, knowing that management will be yanking them.

    The offense is there, we’ve seen it, but they are slowly slipping into the long ball mode of years past. Lots of HR’s, but no ability to hit them when runners are on base, in scoring position. We are seeing way too many K’s, pop-outs, GIDP’s, Hitting right into the shift, as a result. I think the biggest problem is the elevator lineup. Too much shuffling around, excessive platooning, and untimely rest days. No way to develop or maintain consistancy. No way to establish offensive roles.

  3. Buehler and Urias want that ace handle. Heck, they all want it. I see it as Buehler. Not today. but in time.

    I’ve been saying for some time now that the SP concerns me. All of them are capable of 5 quality innings, none of them are studs. Kershaw is the only stud in the group and you can ad usta was in front of that term now. The plan is for Buehler, Urias and May to step up and step in. Not quite ready for it, but it’s coming.

    Kelly has a $4 million buyout after two $8.833mm years in ‘20 & ‘21. He’s expensive. Hope Honeycutt can help him locate. Two other teams gave up on him.

  4. … Boston certainly did not want Kelly back. Too bad they cannot sue him for mis-representation, cause the Dodgers took the bait….hook, line and sinker, to boot. All Kelly can do is laugh to the bank. “Guaranteed Money”.

    Urias, Buehler, and May will always be limited in their abilities, as long as the FO continues to coddle them. What are they saving these guys for…. a rainy day? Cutting their innings, is just hindering their development. I think it is time to kick them out of the nest. Rotation as it is now, is pathetic.

  5. Just sayin’….

    It is very hard for these kids to perform at their full potential, if they continually have to watch their pitch counts, or look over their shoulders to see if Honeycutt is on the phone to the Bullpen. Also tough to watch their team squander so many scoring opportunities.

  6. Not to say I told you so, but I questioned very strongly the fact that every scribe had this pitching staff as one of the NL’s best. Yes, they are missing 2 big guns in Kersh and Dick Mountain, but that is no excuse since these guys are supposed to be MLB ready. Ryu’s groin not as bad as last year and he could be back in a couple of weeks. But they need improvement NOW!!! The offense has been pretty much as advertised. But Taylor is a black hole. Turner the only position player without a homer. Barnes has been good. Grandal is hot and when he is that way, he is a hard out. But the homer he hit off of Urias was a real cookie. Kid cannot throw the ball there and expect results. Bullpen besides, Alexander, Floro and Jansen is about as rotten a bunch of tomato throwing gas cans as I have ever seen. Right now, they are right where they belong in the standings. The Padres at this point are the better team. They had better sweep the cup cake Reds, or this is going to get even uglier.

    1. On May 15th last year we were 16-25, 8.5 games out.

      You think it will get that ugly?

      I’m not gonna worry about any of this yet. Sure, it’s a concern, we’ve got about $66 million in starting pitching on the IL. We’ve got another $28 million going out to people who don’t play here and the bullpen looks like the jv. Makes one ask, who the hell is running this organization and why do they still have a job? But, we’ve done it before and the exspurts predict we’ll do it again. I’m not an exspurt in any of this so what do I know? I’m just gonna try to enjoy the ride. Most of the best rides I’ve been on go up and down real fast. This is like that.

      1. Badger,

        You would think it would not get as ugly as last year because of the consistent hitting we’ve gotten. The batters have been hanging in but perhaps they are now being affected by the poor pitching. Bellinger still managed to whack one but no prize with RISP. To me, this is still a smoke and mirrors team with a decidedly better offense than last year. These kinds of nose dives should not be happening to a team that is well put together. Even the nose dive of 2017, when we were on the cusp of breaking records for wins was marred by the worst meltdown I have ever seen. It showed how helpless the manager really is in times like this. It’s all on the players and the players are picked by the FO. The FO is picked by ownership.

  7. You are right Jeff,

    Baseball is like a game of poker. As a Manager, you can only play the cards (players), as dealt by the dealer (FO).

    Once the team is established by the FO, it is then up to the players, and the players only, to perform.

    Now that player’s salaries are established by numbers, and ANAL-ytics, it is easy for players to be more concerned with their own numbers, than to play team baseball. And FO also imposes restrictions and limits on players, which the Manager has no say. Young pitchers have pitch counts and innings limits, young hitters are assumed by the FO that they cannot hit a righty or lefty, and therefore must sit. FO said certain players need rest and days off. Managers have to manage with one hand tied behind their back. It must be difficult for them, as they (the Manager) takes all the blame.

    1. Bluefan4Life, what ya posted here is RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!! This team may not be able to turn things around with the way things look now both pitching and offense being what they are and completely sabotaged by FO and puppet Roberts. No October baseball just might get ownership after this year to rid ourselves of those 2 just mentioned…

      1. I think this is wishful thinking, Paul. If you are ownership, the FO is doing all the right things to make you money and keep the team competitive. No way is the FO going anywhere and that includes Roberts. If anything is going to change, it should be the ownership first, because the current FO is not going to change its stripes.

        1. Jeff
          Haven’t you ever heard of WINNING? Not simply being competitive is or should not be the goal. Paul has it just right. Dummy is a puppet of the FO and everyone knows it including you. Making money should never be a fan’s priority. I think Friedman has more power than you give him credit. He might not be able to sign a Harper or a Manny but I am sure he is able to sign some Free Agents.

          1. As usual, package, you misinterpret everything I say. Being competitive often includes winning. If you are not a competitive team, you have no chance of winning. If you are a winning team, you are automatically a competitive team and the Dodgers are both in case you haven’t noticed. They have been winning their division and winning the NLCS.

            The point of my post to Paul was not of the fan’s point of view, but of the ownership’s. If you are the owner of a business, you automatically want it to do well and in the case of baseball, you want a winning team. A winning team makes more money! The FO is providing ownership with their dream no matter what your view is. Your view is predicated on only winning a WS. But, you have to travel the road to get there and that road is fraught with difficulties. You don’t seem to appreciate how difficult it is to get to where the Dodgers are. You only want to win a WS. It doesn’t work like that and never will. Ownership doesn’t want to pay luxury tax for years and years, but you, a fan, don’t give a shit, you just want your bottle of milk so you can fall asleep on your couch. You don’t seem to be able to enjoy the team and realize what they’ve accomplished so far. The FO is not perfect but they are providing a viable product for both the ownership and most of the fan base. There will always be those who disagree. This is your team, support them!! Your negative comments do nothing for anyone. I would suggest for you to find a different hobby that you could get more enjoyment out of. Why torture yourself and create a foul mood for others?

  8. It is as shame that baseball has been destroyed by greed. Money is the root of all evil. I certainly do not agree with the outrageous salaries these players make. Contracts are certainly over the top, and ridiculous, but it is what it is. Ownership allowed this to happen, and now it too far out of control to stop it. This does not mean they are broke and do not have any money left to buy players. The Dodgers reportedly had $500M in profits last season…. that is after forking over millions in salaries.

    If they are going to rape the fans of their hard earned money, they certainly should reward them with a winning team, at all costs. In order to compete in “high stakes” major league baseball. they have to spend money, not just shove it in the pockets…. this is one of the richest franchises in the MLB. To keep the majority of profits to themselves, and not invest in a winning team is absurd and disgusting. Give the Fans what they deserve…. a World Series Championship.

    1. No one is raping you, Blue. You are doing it to yourself. No one is forcing you to watch or be a fan. Didn’t your parents teach you anything?

  9. Definitely not raping me, Jeff. I had refused to waste my money years ago on this facsimile of baseball. I don’t by tickets, I don’t subscribe to Spectrum just to get the broadcasts. I’ll let somebody else pay the bills.

    I will, however, continue to be a fan of baseball. It is kind of amusing to listen in and see how these millionaires butcher up the game. Enjoy hearing Rick Monday and Nomar see the same stuff I see. They are great at pointing out the mistakes the teams are making, and what they should do to fix it. Great to view the game from a different perspective, and dis the rose colored glasses.

    Have fun with it, Jeff…. I am.

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