I feel sorry for the Dodgers fans who drank the swill this year. If you did, I’m sorry to tell you this, but pitching wins championships and the Dodgers entered the postseason with one of the weakest staffs in 50 years. If you think a staff with old and injured Clayton Kershaw who is at the end of his career, Lance Lynn who is also at the end of his career and a bunch of rookies are going to win the World Series, I’m sorry to inform you that it’s very unlikely.
Let me preference this by saying that I love Kershaw. He’s one of my favorite Dodgers. I respect everything he’s done for the franchise and the city of Los Angeles. I refuse to bury him, instead I want to honor him. We have to be honest about reality. The reality is that Kershaw has reached the twilight of his career, and is no longer the same pitcher he was 5 or 6 years ago.
The opening game of the Dodgers/Dbacks National League division series was a total disaster. It was sad and pathetic. Kershaw their game 1 starter who hasn’t been healthy since the All-star break recorded just one out while giving up six earned runs to the DBacks in an 11-2 bludgeoning. The rest of the staff gave up five runs. If you’re wondering how the Dodgers won 100 games without a pitching staff, one has only to look at their powerful lineup that scored 900 runs this season. You can have the greatest lineup in baseball history, but runs are hard to come by in the playoffs.
That didn’t matter as Merrill Kelly, the Arizona starting pitcher, who was I think 0-11 in his career against the Dodgers in the regular season shut them out over 6.1 scoreless innings. The Dodger lineup collected just 4 hits, scoring two runs, coming in the eighth inning on a Will Smith triple.
To be fair to Kershaw, James Outman misplayed an easy out in center field on a Ketel Marte liner to open the game. It should have been ruled an error. Otherwise, we’re probably seeing the end of Kershaw’s career and it’s extremely sad. He’s been pitching for 16 years, and has about a thousand innings on his body.
He’s never told management that he can’t pitch in important games. Not once. He’s never pulled a Max Scherzer, and for that I want to thank him. It takes guts to do that, especially when you’re older and coming off of injuries. It does take pitching to win in the postseason and the Dodgers just don’t have that in 2023. The NLDS resumes on Monday night with rookie Bobby Miller taking the mound for the Dodgers against Zac Gallen for Arizona. This series is going to be as painful as last year. I think Andrew Friedman’s regime has run its course in Los Angeles. I’m hoping whoever is running the Dodgers next year builds the roster around strong pitching, especially starting pitching.
You can’t reinvent baseball. I hate to inform the analytics fans.