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Three Things We Learned About The Dodger’s Pitching Staff After The NLDS Sweep

The Dodgers are sitting home resting and awaiting to see who they’ll play in the NLCS which begins on Saturday at 5:08 PM PST at Dodger Stadium. They’ll play either the Cubs or Nationals who wrap up their series tonight with a decisive game 5 in Washington. Side question: Who do you want to see the Dodgers play in the NLCS?

After their joyful sweep of the Dbacks in the NLDS, the Dodgers learned a few things about their pitching staff. We learned along with them. So here are a few lessons to ponder on as the division series round comes to a close.

Clayton Kershaw is human

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As it turns out, Kershaw is not some invincible unstoppable pitching machine. He’s wonderful but he needs a little help from time to time much like the rest of mortal world. Dave Roberts had said before the NLDS started that Kershaw would not be pitching on short rest. Kershaw tossed 6.1 innings and gave up 4 home runs in the Dodger’s 9-5 game 1 win over Arizona. Three of those home runs were in the sixth inning or later and two were hit in the seventh inning. Here’s a telling stat; Kershaw’s postseason ERA in the seventh inning is 21.86. Kershaw will be fine, but the Dodgers will need to watch him carefully when he approaches that devil’s frame.

Pedro Baez can’t be trusted to pitch under pressure

Pedro Baez will most certainly be on the NLCS roster, but the Dodgers have finally figured out that he simply can’t be trusted to pitch in the postseason under pressure. Oh sure he can toss an inning or two in a mop-up role without problems, but can the Dodgers ever trust him again in the seventh or eighth innings when the game is on the line? The answer is definitely no.

The proof is in the numbers. Baez has appeared in 11 playoff games pitching 9.2 innings and has posted a 6.52 ERA. He’s given up 11 runs on nine hits and walked 7.He’s blown leads in almost every series over the last few years. The Dodgers stayed away from him in the NLDS. He didn’t appear once in the series as the Dodgers decided to go with a better mix of Brandon Morrow, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields, and Kenta Maeda to set-up Kenley Jansen. You go with what works. Look for poor Pedro to ride the pine again in the NLCS. Speaking of Maeda…..

Kenta Maeda pitches better out of the bullpen then in the rotation

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This is so obvious I’m surprised the Dodgers didn’t figure this out sooner. Maeda tossed two scoreless frames in the NLDS striking out 4. He looked dominant, and I would love to see him continue in his new role as seventh or eighth inning set-up guy. With Maeda, Morrow, Fields, and the rest of the guys, the Dodgers have a strong bullpen. There’s no reason to push Kershaw when you have such a dominant group of relievers.

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The Dodgers quest for the pennant begins on Saturday.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

14 thoughts on “Three Things We Learned About The Dodger’s Pitching Staff After The NLDS Sweep

  1. One more thing we learned, when Ed Dinger is right, he could probably throw an inning of shut out baseball, based on all the other skills he has exhibited this season.

    1. Yes – both Puig and Cody can throw 93-98 heaters with accuracy. I still remember Jeff Hamilton pumping 96mph fastballs in that 22 inning game against the Astros (too bad we lost but Fernando – playing first base! – almost caught that liner down the first base line).

  2. You also notice that there has not been a Pedro Baez sighting. I think Dave is keeping him for a blowout game.

    1. Baez: There really isn’t any reason to keep him on the roster. He is capable of even blowing up a blow out. He can’t be counted on so he is a wasted spot. Move him off and move Segedin on, I want more bench strength not just a butt taking up space on the bench. Hell bring back the little basestealer guy (whatshisname) that all the buzz was about a week ago, that would at least make some sense, because Baez makes no sense. From what I have seen, Watson is just about in the same catagory of uselessness as Baez is in. Drop him as well and give us both Segedin and whatshisname.

      Ed Dinger, good karma is flowing.

      1. The kid is Tim Locastro, and I doubt they waste a spot on him. I do know that almost for certain Avilan will be back on the roster. I think they do a couple of tweaks but that is about it. I am not so worried about the Cubs as I am the nasty weather they are having in Chicago. Hate to see someone get hurt in that crap. It is going to be cold for those middle 3 games.

  3. Both starters in trouble early. It’s a bullpen game for sure. And the Nationals are forced to burn Max Scherzer to preserve the one run lead.

    The Cubs have some holes in their lineup. I think the Nationals pull it out and I am very curious to see how their brand new bullpen, especially Doolittle, handles the pressure.

  4. Is it just me, or does neither team’s lineup seem stronger than the D-Backs? Addison Russell is having a good night at the plate but Scherzer had two outs, bases empty, turn into a 4 run meltdown (with a passed ball, a throwing error and a bases loaded hit batter …).

    1. Diamondbacks have more power up and down their lineup than either team. If Harper were totally healthy, the Nats would have a decent lineup. But neither scares me. The main power in Chicago is Bryant and Russo. Schwarber makes too little contact to be that efficient in a short series. Heyward is a lot like Grandal, streaky, but he has been slumping. The guys who can surprise are Russell and Baez.

  5. I agree, Yueh.

    So barring some 17 inning game here, I’d guess Lackey or Taner Roark are the game 1 starters for these guys

  6. What a game. This will go down as one of the best of all time. The 8th rally ends on a pick off! Doolittle up.

  7. Ok it’s going to be the Cubs. Wade Davis is definitely hittable but he’s a fighter and won’t give in. On the other hand he’s not Chapman. I think we van make him work.

    Personally I think the Nationals got robbed on a bunch of bad calls.

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