For the foreseeable future, the Dodgers will be missing Dustin May, Walker Buehler, and Ryan Pepiot.
The Los Angeles Dodgers can’t help but be among the greatest teams in the league, even when they’re prepared to take a step back to add youth to the squad. The Dodgers are leading the NL West with a record of 28-17 after winning 15 of their previous 19 games. Only the Atlanta Braves have a better record and run differential (plus-49) in the National League than they have.
Regarding the team’s recent winning streak, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “We expected it to come, you just never know when it’s going to happen.” “I believe you just sort of bet that the procedure is right and the players are right, and you just keep trying to play good baseball, hopefully you can tally some wins together,” the author said.
The Dodgers are the top club in the National League with 245 runs scored, 16 more than the next team, in large part because of rookie hitters like James Outman and Miguel Vargas. With 196 runs permitted, they are still barely in the middle of the pack. During the current Dodgers baseball era, elite run prevention has remained a constant. Their run prevention is more than amazing this year.
The Dodgers’ rotation among the 30 teams is as follows:
- ERA: 3.95 (10th in MLB)
- WHIP: 1.16 (6th in MLB)
- FIP: 4.18 (13th in MLB)
- WAR: 3.5 (12th in MLB)
Good. nor fantastic, nor terrible, just good. A rotation that is merely good is also out of character for the Dodgers. The fact that ace Julio Uras has a 4.39 ERA one year after placing third in the NL Cy Young voting hasn’t helped. Thanks in large part to the four home runs he allowed in the space of five batters on Thursday, Uras’ home run rate has nearly doubled this season.
Roberts spoke to Uras’ poor night as “those pitches are mistakes, and clearly he’s making a lot more mistakes than we’re accustomed to.” And once more, as you can see today, he was struggling with himself and took a few walks that were out of character. I simply didn’t notice a continuous beat from pitch one tonight, even with the pitch clock.
Dustin May’s injury earlier this week to a strained flexor pronator mass—one of the many forearm muscles that absorb the force of a pitch so the ulnar collateral ligament doesn’t snap—dealt a serious blow to Los Angeles. May has been recovering from Tommy John surgery for a whole year, therefore great caution is advised due to forearm issues. He’ll be absent for at least a month.
“It’s a big blow,” Roberts said to MLB.com. “Dustin and the struggles he has faced come to mind first. He undoubtedly contributed significantly to this year, and he still might. But right now, I know he’s sad to have this speed bump with him.
To fill May’s spot in the rotation, the Dodgers are anticipated to call up righty Gavin Stone, and Michael Grove looms as an additional layer of depth beyond Stone. The club’s depth chart for rotation players now looks like this:
- LHP Julio Urías
RHP Walker Buehler(Tommy John surgery)
- LHP Clayton Kershaw
- RHP Tony Gonsolin
RHP Dustin May(flexor pronator strain)
- RHP Noah Syndergaard
RHP Ryan Pepiot(oblique strain)
- RHP Gavin Stone
- RHP Michael Grove
Pepiot is just beginning his throwing regimen and anticipates making a comeback around the All-Star break. Buehler is throwing in the bullpen and anticipates making a comeback in September, but it is a fairly accelerated rehab schedule for a man recovering from his second Tommy John surgery of his professional career. The bottom line is that Buehler, May, or Pepiot won’t be returning to the Dodgers any time soon.
According to Buehler, September 1 is still the target date. “I have to try to look out for both my team and myself here. The most important thing is that I want to finish the year healthily. Playing at the end of the year has certain thrilling aspects, and I want to accomplish that. However, I won’t attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole if I’m not in good enough health.
Late this month, Gonsolin made a successful comeback from an ankle ailment sustained during spring training, increasing his pitch total to 85. Although he’s now almost fully stretched out, the Dodgers have steadily built him up. Syndergaard’s one-year deal isn’t working out nearly as well as Tyler Anderson’s did last season because of his severe struggles this year (5.94 ERA in eight starts).
Los Angeles is sort of moseying along with a patchwork rotation because to all the injuries, Syndergaard pitching poorly, and Uras not being his regular Cy Young level self. Kershaw continues to be excellent. He may no longer offer you 200 innings every year, but on a start-by-start basis, he is still the best in the game. But there are a lot of rotational issues here behind him.
It seems inevitable that the Dodgers will be looking to acquire a starting pitcher by the deadline. That being said, come the deadline, every single contender will be looking for a starting pitcher. Normally, the rotation includes one or two champions each year, but not this time around. A starter is required for every contender owing to illness and/or underperformance.
Furthermore, this summer might not have any starters who can actually have an impact. Right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn of the Chicago White Sox should be available, as should Alex Cobb and Alex Wood of the San Francisco Giants (would the Giants even consider a trade with the Dodgers?). Shane Bieber’s Cleveland Guardians would receive a sizable sum in exchange, but it’s uncertain whether they would be willing to do so.
More than two months have passed since the trade deadline, and a lot can and will change in that time. But as of right now, it seems like every competitor will be looking for a starting, and there won’t be many high-quality starters on the market. The cost of second and third tier starters may end up being exaggerated, but hey, if that’s what it takes to acquire the assistance you require, so be it.
The Dodgers are currently straining the depth of their rotation. May, Pepiot, and Buehler will all be sidelined for at least a few more weeks, and Syndergaard and Uras have at best been inconsistent. The Dodgers’ offense and winning culture are the reason they are winning games despite having a mediocre rotation. But eventually, one or more rotation upgrades will be required.
“I think the thing we’ve done a really nice job of over the years is that, when something like this unforeseen happens, we continue to move forward,” Roberts said to the Los Angeles Times. “Guys, step it up.”