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Dodgers Starting Rotation Bingo Begins

For those who are keeping score, it looks like Scott Kazmir takes Round One from Hyun-Jin Ryu in the Spring Training game known as Starting Rotation Bingo.

There are only two pitching slots available in the Dodgers’ rotation, as Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda are the established Big Three. That leaves a half-dozen men on the outside battling to get in.

Hyun-Jin Ryu and Scott Kazmir are both trying to do it with the specter of past injuries hovering over the mound every time they pitch. Ryu has been missing in action for the past couple of seasons due to elbow and shoulder injuries. Since he’s only pitched for the Dodgers once since 2014, it would seem his is the higher hill to climb.

“I only pitched one game the last couple of years so there are question marks around my name, just like 2013 when I first got to the Dodgers. There definitely are things I need to prove to the organization to be in the rotation.” – Hyun-Jin Ryu

Ryu came into camp with a clean bill of health, but his first bullpen session stirred up the winds of concern when his fastball could not top 86 mph. He later threw a live batting practice and the batters reported Ryu had good command of his pitches. He didn’t fool a lot of batters, as he gave up a lot of contact.

Scott Kazmir is coming off neck and back injuries that shut him down too often in the second half of the 2016 season. He didn’t even make the Dodgers’ 2016 post-season roster, so Kazmir’s a man with something to prove as well.

Manager Dave Roberts said today that Kazmir is likely to get the start against the Giants on Wednesday, while Ryu stays home and throws another bullpen session.

Per Eric Stephan: The Dodgers want Ryu to pitch on the back fields under a more “controlled environment”.

Controlled environment sounds an awful lot like having a couple of hovering coaches, no crowds, no distractions and most disheartening of all for the Ryu Marching and Chowder Society, no live batters.

Point, Kazmir!


Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

59 thoughts on “Dodgers Starting Rotation Bingo Begins

  1. There will be plenty of starts to spread around as the year progresses. I see 1 guy with 30 or more starts.

    No talk of today’s game? I noticed only 4294 in attendance this afternoon. Must have been the weather.

  2. Well I read that our pitchers got shelled and our hitters did squat.

    Maeda apparently was just so-so, and Brock Stewart apparently did not impress. At this part of the rotation tryouts/warmups, I’m just hoping for guys like Maeda and Brock Stewart to get their innings in with injury or discomfort. I get the point of the article. The ones who’ll have the spot light on them are up next … Kazmir, McCarthy, Ryu, Romo, but maybe not Baez as he is recovering from a comebacker during live BP.

    And it may be that being tabbed to pitch is not necessarily a good thing. Some of these guys, like Kazmir and McCarthy are soft and do not do well under stress. Just my opinion of course. Waiting to be proven wrong.

    1. Yeah, bad day at the office. Not much to talk about I guess. The Rockies are going to hit. They always do. The question for them is pitching, and I know they are doing their best to answer that question. Urias up today, at Salt River. Cool and supposed to rain down there this morning, but 80 by Friday. Might snow here in Sedona.

    2. That’s right, being tabbed to pitch at the start of the season isn’t really a badge of honor given the depth at the major/near-major level. With Urias probably in EST, and with Stewart/Stripling already on the 40 and in AAA, and injuries or sub-par performance should be easily replaced in the rotation when needed.

      1. Opening Day starter is indeed a badge of honor. After that, you’re right. Using last year as an example, every team is going to win 60 (except the Twins) and every team will lose 60 (except the Cubs) – it’s what you do in all those other games that separates the teams. Can we win the 95 some think we will? Yeah, maybe. I still have the under.

    3. Fields is the one who gave up most of the runs, but this is what spring training is about.

      They can fix a pitcher’s mechanics easier in spring training, then in the middle of the season.

      Badger won’t like that they were 0 for five with runners in scoring position, but most won’t like that.

      Badger what happened to BOB he was suppose to be ill, and we haven’t heard from him?

      He hated when the Dodgers couldn’t get the job done, with runners in scoring position.

      He would have a lot of depends ready, for the players that didn’t get a hit, in that situation.

  3. Not sure if advantage Kazmir is a good thing but: it is what it is.

    Pain free is great but 86 mph, yikes!

    I think Urias will be the 4th starter. We the fans do want to see him pitch when the games actually have value. Shouldn’t that count for something?

    1. Artieboy

      Don’t sell out Urias, he is going to be the number three, once he gets going, and has a few games, under his belt.

      MLB profiled the Dodgers yesterday, and John Stoltz was talking about how much he liked Urias again.

      1. Urias may pitch as well as a #3 at times, but I believe his innings, and his outings, will be limited.

        The Nats just got better.

        1. Badger

          I am just talking about performance.

          It isn’t his fault that he is on a innings limit.

          I do want him to pitch further into games, then the first two times through the line up, so he learns to pitch out of trouble.

          Did the Nats get a closer?

          1. They did if they are going to use Blanton in that role. They have a few non roster guys trying out for the spot…..They will not keep Urias on the roster the first few weeks. He will be in extended spring.

    1. That’s too bad, looks like we have to hold our breath with Sergio and the gang. I will have to try not to look when these guys start blowing leads.

      1. Respect your viewpoint but do not think the Dodgers not signing Blanton is a loss. There are enough arms to do the job without Blanton.

        1. yeah, a lot of arms. But not many who have the skill set Blanton has. You trust Hatcher or Baez with the 8th inning? Maybe Romo? Fields looked like crap yesterday, and Morrow got hammered his first trip out. Luckily spring is long this year. They have time to work out the kinks.

    2. Watford

      It is tougher to pitch, in Washington DC, in the summer.

      It is very hot there, and there is a lot of humility, and balls fly out there, unlike in LA, in the summmer time.

  4. The Nats signed Blanton to a one year deal, at $4 million guarantee with $1 million in incentives. I think my offer on the other thread would have gotten him. Damn I’m good.

    1. Yueh didn’t sign him. The Nats did. Yueh’ll have to do better next time.

      MJ, I do know what you’re talking about, but a true #3 is one you can count on to take the ball every 5th day. See the Cubs, the giants and the Nationals. We don’t really have one. Maeda may get 28 starts, but do you think Hill will get 30? I still see one guy in our rotation with 30+ starts. The others will be lucky to get 25. Urias should be held under 22. Some projection sites say even less. I agree with that Register article. We should NOT press him early. FAZ doesn’t sign workhorses to pull the load then that is on them and the Dodgers should pay the price for that, not expect a 20 year old to bail them out. If I’m in charge I spread out 18 starts and hope for 120 quality innings. We can expand that to 132 innings when he’s 21, then 150 when he’s 22. You want him pitching 200 innings through his prime years 26-30, you don’t wear him out now.

      1. Badger

        I know all of that.

        I am just saying when Urias starts pitching later in the season, that they should let him pitch past five innings, if he is pitching well.

        It doesn’t have to be at the beginning, but once he is in the starting rotation, for a while.

        He has never pitched past five innings, even in AAA.

        He needs to learn how to pitch, when he is facing the order, the third time around, in order, to learn how to pitch out of trouble.

        You know there are a lot of major league pitchers, who pitch great, the first two times through the order.

        It is mainly the good major league pitchers, who pitch well, even the third time through.

    2. Not only that but $3MM of the $4MM is deferred to 2018 and 2019. FAZ couldn’t come up with that? What a pathetic FO we have….

      1. Jonah

        Maybe they didn’t want him, after the National League series.

        I don’t know.

        I don’t know if he collasped, from the innings he pitched, or that he just didn’t have it, in that series.

        Personally I don’t like that Kazmir and McCarthy, are making so much money, as compared, to the relief pitchers, but they didn’t pull there weight.

        And the relievers, had to pitch more innings, because one got the yips, and the other, couldn’t pitch much past five innings most of the time, and couldn’t finish the season.

        They were saying it was McCarthy’s hips bothering him, but I saw a post from him, and he said he had the yips.

        Look at Libatore, he pitched so well, in the first half of the season, but he pitched a lot, and got hurt.

        These guys don’t make that much, but they pulled most of the weight.

        And maybe Blanton feels that way, but he also might have thought he was worth more, then the market did.

        There have been a lot of players, that have gone through that.

  5. Some people are so damn hard headed. It has already been stated by the Dodger FO that they are going to monitor and control the amount of innings that Urias throws. So, get it out of your mind that he is a # 3 or even the # 4. He is going to open the year in extended spring training, he is NOT going to pitch out of the bullpen, he will most likely see his first live game action in AAA. Get used to the idea. The guy is a year away from being a FULL TIME starter. If Friedman has his way, he would love to see this rotation, Kershaw, Hill, Maeda, Kazmir and McCarthy. Not only is it a veteran rotation, but except for Kershaw it is Friedman’s own creation. In a perfect world that is what he wants. With the rest of the cast at AAA getting innings and being able to work on their deficiencies. That is why I think this team is not a championship caliber team. We have no true #2 starter. We have an ace and a bunch of fillers. Now if all those guys are healthy and at peak form, well that would be a different story. But 3 of those guys are a train wreck waiting to happen. Urias is better than 4 of them, but he is a kid. He is just learning, and you do not want to wear his arm out. Because if Kersh walks, guess who is the ace. On Blanton. You snooze, you lose. We are stuck with the collective flotsam that the FAZ in his usual infinite wisdom has stuck us with. Enjoy the snail like pace of Baez, or the long distance HR’s off Hatcher……it is going to be so much fun…..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ah the good old days….Alston and the boys with the 1959 pennant

    1. Michael

      We all know he is on a innings limit.

      Like I told Badger, I am merely talking about performance!

      It isn’t the kid’s fault, he is on a innings limit, so I don’t use that against him.

      And I really think saying he will pitch like a number three in this rotation, is being conservative.

      He has better stuff, then many of these pitchers.

      He is just going to have to pitch and learn, but he is still very advanced, for his age.

      And he will be pitching in the major league rotation, probably by May or sooner, so that is what I am talking about.

      I assume everyone here, knows that!

  6. Wow Michael……
    You might be right. But have you believed everything you’ve heard from this FO? Monitor and control might mean a couple of different things to different folks. You think it means that his innings are going to be ‘limited’ and therefore he will not begin the season with the big club. How does pitching in AAA at any point lessen the innings pitched on his arm? As someone that has his own site stated sometime last year, prior to Urias being sent right back to the minors, he has nothing more to learn in the minors.

    I do think in FAZ’s ideal world…..daydream here….2 of the 3 of Kazmir, McCarthy & Ryu are healthy and throwing well to start the season and assuming Hill takes a week and a half off prior to his first start (to keep from developing blisters) and Maeda stays healthy therefore Urias will not be needed. IF that is the case then I can see where Urias will not start the season in the rotation. That would be FAZ’s ideal situation.

    There are still 4+ weeks and stuff will happen. Stay tune. BUT, you might be right.

    1. Chili

      It is well known Urias is on a innings limit.

      But he will be pitching in the major league rotation later this season.

      They are not going to pitch him much, or at all, in AAA.

      Why waste his pitching innings, in AAA?

      It is already obvious that Urias in ready to pitch in the majors,

      But they want him to be able to pitch, in the later part of the season.

      1. Yes, everyone is aware that Urias innings are going to be monitored. But there are multiple ways of monitor and controlling his innings. If veterans are not ready to answer the bell then he might start the year in the rotation. They come back, he goes on the DL. They might decide to have him pitch a couple of starts and then skip a start or two. There are pro’s and con’s with whatever they decide to do.

        Saying that he isn’t going to start the year in the rotation and that he is going to just throw bullpen sessions….well isn’t that taxing his arm? If not then is he truly staying sharp and ready at a moments notice. Once he is inserted into the rotation, let’s say mid season, who’s to say that he still will not develop a tired or sore arm after multiple starts.

        Is the plan to have him ready and healthy for the post season? What is the best way to keep him sharp and healthy until September/October? What if the Dodgers are fighting for their lives to stay in contention for the playoffs in July/August? What if most of the old and infirm are on the shelf come June?

        My point is that there is no easy answer and no one truly knows (at least none of us) what the ideal plan is and what the real plan becomes.

        Who throws more ML innings this year…..DeLeon or Urias?

        1. Chili

          And no one knows what they are going to do, and they haven’t probably decided themselves, yet.

          But they are not going to stick him into, the AAA rotation.

          They will decide, but the innings he will be pitching, will be at the major league level.

    2. First off, in AAA ball they can limit his innings because they are not worried about losing. Do I believe everything they say? Absolutely not. But I can believe that. They have enough options where limiting the kid is not going to hurt the big club. And you always have something to learn whether it be at OKC or LA. He has nothing to prove, but maybe the AAA pitching coach shows him a pitch that can add to his repertoire. Hill is getting paid too much to take time off.. Do not worry, father time will do it for him.

  7. Sorry to hear Blanton slipped away, but maybe that’s a good thing, perhaps midnite at the ball…

    The Nats sure have an interesting/iffy bullpen. Good team though. Think they win more games than Dodgers in ’17? They remind me of the Dodgers in that there seems an obvious strength in the ability to put runs on the board with a balanced offensive attack 1-8.

    What do you think of Strasburg’s track record for staying on the mound? Think he surpasses 150 IP? Having emptied the top shelf of their farm system in the Eaton deal, things could get iffy in their rotation.

    Nobody’s perfect out there – well, almost nobody. Giants rotation looks very strong, but sometimes a rotation that looks ultra-sturdy may be the one that’s due for the same kind of ill-luck that strikes other teams. Just saying.

    1. Rye

      I am still worried about how we will hit lefties this year.

      And the Giants now have two lefties, and Cueto, and we didn’t do much against these pitchers, last year.

      We did come back, and hit Moore, after his almost no hitter, but we didn’t hit Cueto, or even Bumgarner that much, toward the middle and end of the season.

      We only went ahead, after Bumgarner was out of the game.

      But Cueto did have elbow problems in 2015.

      And I am suprised, that Bumgarner has pitched so many innings, and acrossed his body, and he hasn’t missed anytime.

      1. Last year, was last year. It is rarely the same year to year. Maybe the lefty’s hang a few, or maybe they just have down years. Look at it this way, to be as good as they were last year they have to repeat what they did against RH pitchers, and then to be better, they need to improve vs Lefty’s It all evens out eventually.

        1. Michael

          I hope so, they actually hit decently against lefties, the year before.

          Hopefully Scotty can help, but who knows about the roster.

  8. Gonna need someone besides Turner, Forsythe, and Puig to stroke the lefties. Who will come through? Seager and Gonzo? Grandal? Barnes? I suspect when the young athletic slugger Bellinger arrives on the scene, he too will struggle versus southpaws.

    Another thing about Bumgarner is that he swings the bat so damn hard, his oblique is just itching to get tweaked.

    1. Rye

      I know Bumgarner is always trying to hit one out.

      And I always get nervous when Kershaw is pitching to him, because he has hit a couple out, off Kershaw.

    2. Rye

      They talk about Agone against lefties, but Corey hit 250 against lefties, and Agone hit 249.

      And that is better then a lot on this team, and better, then the other lefties, and Turner, last year.

  9. If I may, regarding Urias, I think there are other factors to consider. Innings will be limited. But it won’t be just innings that will be numbered, pitch counts will also be monitored, and it’s my opinion pitch counts are actually more important. We know there are some innings, and some pitches, that are more stressful than others. I believe management intends to bring him along slowly, with a number of low stress innings in AAA. He has options and the Dodgers have plenty of experienced starters ready to prove themselves out of the gate. Like I said, I give him 18 starts, he goes 6, builds up stamina so that some of those starts will be late summer and during the pennant drive. I am being very conservative, which may come as a surprise to some. Fangraphs has him with 18 starts, 102 innings pitched. By starting some in AAA with minimum pitch counts, he may have more starts than 18 in total, and maybe more innings pitched as well. 1 start a week is 24 starts. He might actually get close to that with some of those starts being completed at AAA with 75 pitch count. Low stress. Build stamina. In that way he may be able to give us quality starts in August, September and October. And those are months of the year we may not be seeing some of those starters we see in April and May, June and July.

    1. Badger

      I don’t see him in a AAA rotation.

      I can see him in Arizona, in a long spring training too.

      I just don’t like when they get away, from a pitcher’s routine.

      Like I said, if he is going to throw competitive pitches, it will be at the major league level.

      He can pitch less stressful pitches,
      in the majors too.

      And I do think you are right, about pitch counts!

      And that is another reason I want Urias to pitch past the fifth inning at times, and his pitch count, is the key.

      1. Look at his game log splits from last year. He started 22, 15 in LA, pitched 122 innings, 77 in LA. Several of those starts he went less than 5. His finish suggests he may have run out of gas. In late August and all of September they started giving him a lot of days between appearances. All I’m saying is if he’s going to go only 120 innings, don’t you want the best of them in September and October? If so, what’s the best way to accomplish that?

    2. I pegged him at 20 starts x 6 innings a start for a total of 120 innings. So (assuming October baseball) that’s 5 months Jun – Oct which is 4 starts a month.

      And what I meant by 4th starter is he will be in the same group with McC and Kazmir, above Strippling and Stewart. And it wouldn’t surprise me if ends up outpitching Hill and really be a #3 by the end of the year.

      Of course if FAZ decides to “shut him down” because of potential injury, it won’t matter where he ranked. His spot in the rotation will be taken by this year’s trade deadline maneuver.

      1. Artieboy

        Your guess is as good as anyone’s guess.

        We really don’t know, but I do think he will make a mark on this team.

        1. That’s the fun MJ. We can be completely off or pretty darn close.

          I just think it stinks that the fans want to see him pitch and we get “Kazmir, [and] McStripwoodwartryu”.

      2. Once a week is basically a 6 man rotation. I think everyone on this 10 deep starting staff could benefit from that schedule. Kershaw, Hill, Maeda, Urias, Kazmir, McStripwoodwartryu. Works for me. Won’t happen.

          1. Roberts said no 6 man rotation. He didn’t say anything about a 8-9 man “rotation” with the short DL stints. (wink wink)

          1. Yeah, I’m reading Thomas Jefferson’s cut and paste bible. I started the Adi Granth and it wore me out after about a hundred pages. Jefferson’s thing is a quick read. Jefferson was a complicated man. The bla bla guy? Not so much.

          2. Sorry but the bla, bla, bla man already left the house in January.

            Go ahead and say there was not one single thing you either liked, appreciated or respected if that is how you really feel. I don’t believe that either of you are completely closed minded, are you?

  10. The fact that Blanton signed for $1MM in 2017, deferred $1M to 2018 and $2MM to 2019 indicates to me that FAZ didn’t want him. Period.

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