The Dodgers have had 26 different players on the DL this season. The record for a season is 27. This just in:
Van Slyke (right wrist) DL, Taylor returns.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) August 9, 2016
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The Dodgers currently have 15 players on the DL. Six starting pitchers which include: Brett Anderson, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Bud Norris, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Alex Wood. That’s basically a whole pitching staff of starting pitchers. There is some good news though. Rich Hill should pitch this Friday. Bud Norris will come off the DL next week.
Brett Anderson is currently doing some rehab starts and will be back soon. Alex Wood could come back next month and help in the bullpen. Last but least, Clayton Kershaw who played catch recently should pitch again sometime next month. So the Dodgers will get back 5 pitchers to contribute for the stretch run.
The overworked bullpen has had some recent casualties. Louis Coleman, Casey Fien, and Adam Liberatore are all on the DL and who knows when they will be back. That probably was the reason the Dodgers acquired Jesse Chavez, Josh Fields, and called up Grant Dayton and Julio Urias. Ross Stripling has also been a key contributor. So how have the Dodgers been able to stay in the pennant race? They are currently 4 games up in the wild card and 1 game back of the “Hated Ones” in the NL West.
The main reasons for the Dodgers success has been the Bullpen. Look where the Dodgers bullpen ranks:
These stats are with a revamped Bullpen due to the recent injuries. Keep in mind help will be on the way once some guys come off the DL and those September call-ups. The Whiz kids deserve praise for building this bullpen to counteract the injuries to the rotation and the fact that the starting pitchers usually go about five innings. Take a look the Dodgers record this year compared to last season:
Dodgers after 112 games in 2015: 62-50. LAD after 112 games in 2016: 63-49.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 9, 2016
Another reason the Dodgers are having success is because they catch the ball.
It stands to reason if you pitch well and catch the ball, your going to be in a lot of ballgames. The Dodgers are 22-13 since the best pitcher in the game made his last start on June 26th. Everyone thought the season was over when he went down. Dem Baums have actually been easy to root for this year because of all the adversity. The Offense has been picking it up as of late. Justin Turner, Howie Kendrick, and Yasmani Grandal have stepped up after horrible starts. Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager and Chase Utley have been consistent. Of course the Dodgers have flaws such as hitting with runners on base and against left handers.
This Dodger team feels a little different from the last three seasons versions that made it into postseason. One thing they have going for them this season is grit which fans love. Everyone stepped up their game when Kershaw went down.
Manager Dave Roberts has inspired grit which is very reminiscent of past Giants and Cardinals teams that have won the World Series. Who can forget the steal in the 2004 ALCS? The season will come down to health and the nine games left against the hated ones. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything this team does. Of course I want it to be a positive result.