What to do with Mitch White? His first start of the year was his 2nd game back from a COVID IL, and he faced the Phillies. Things did not go well as he allowed 3 runs in 2.1 IP. He got the first out in the 3rd and then gave up a single and a 2-run HR to Alec Bohm on a center cut 93.4 MPH 4-seamer.
But things started to improve in his next start against Arizona. He came out after 4.0 scoreless IP. He allowed 2 singles and 2 walks, but was done after 61 pitches.
His third start was against the Pirates and after a rough start he settled down very nicely. A single, BB, K, single to start the game and the Dodgers were down 1-0. After the single, White got 13 of the next 14 batters he faced before walking Ke’Bryan Hayes and hanging a curve to Bryan Reynolds who deposited the pitch over the RF wall. He got the third out. He threw a total of 78 pitches leaving down 3-2.
In last night’s game, White pitched a perfect 4.0 innings. He did allow 2 singles and hit a batter to load the bases with 1 out in the 5th. He got Reese McGuire looking for the 2nd out, and struck out Josh Harrison on an 0-2 slider. Unfortunately for White, the Dodgers could not hit the CWS starter Michael Kopech either, and after 5.0, the score was knotted at 0-0.
White was due to face the White Sox hitters for the third time, and the decision to lift him after 5.0 was made. As it turns out, the decision did not work for the Dodgers. Phil Bickford relieved White and gave up an infield single that Freddie Freeman knocked but could not keep it in his glove. After two out, José Abreu hit a slow roller off the end of the bat single through the hole created by the shift.
Another decision, Bickford did not pitch poorly, but Doc wanted to bring in a lefty, David Price, to face the lefty Gavin Sheets. Tony LaRussa countered with the RH hitting AJ Pollock who doubled on the first pitch to score two. Next pitch is a run scoring double by Jake Burger. Yoan Moncada was intentionally walked to get to Reese McGuire. On an 0-1 pitch, McGuire singled to score Burger. Price threw 4 pitches, and the ChiSox scored four 2 out runs.
That is how the score ended and the Dodgers have now lost 3 in a row and 6 out of their last 8. They have been shut out twice in their last 13 games.
But back to the question penned at the top. What to do with Mitch White? Under normal circumstances, White’s next scheduled start is due on Sunday against the Giants. However, it is anticipated that Clayton Kershaw will be activated from the IL to pitch that game. I would expect that White could be considered as a piggyback option.
Mitch White has progressively improved in his last 4 starts and has done everything he needs to do to prove he can stay in the rotation. It has been suggested that the Dodgers should consider a 6-man rotation. Tony Gonsolin’s season high in games pitched is 15 (13 starts). His season high in IP is 55.2. Currently, Tony G stands at 10 games (all starts) and 51.0 IP, so he is quickly approaching career highs and we are only in the 1st week in June. I am not that concerned about 100 innings but what happens when he starts approaching 120 IP. Does he hit a wall like Walker Buehler did last year? Did the career high in innings pitched impact Julio Urias in the playoffs? The team will be entering unchartered waters very quickly with Gonsolin.
Tyler Anderson has never been as effective and efficient as he is right now. Does anyone truly expect Tyler to continue to pitch as well as he has?
Kershaw is due back on Sunday. Is everyone comfortable that Clayton will be able to finish the season without any additional stays on the IL. Andrew Heaney found a new pitch in a side session and after two starts, Heaney hit the IL. He has had one rehab start and is expected to have at least one and maybe two more before he is activated. Once he is back, is everyone convinced that Heaney’s new pitch will stay elite or will he regress to his career norm?
What if Walker Buehler finds himself in his next start or two? What if he doesn’t?
Julio Urias has been solid for most of the year. He just is not getting any run support this year. I am not concerned about Urias at this time.
Thus, on paper, the Dodgers will have 6 starters without Mitch White. Going with 6 starters makes some sense with all of the potential pitfalls indicated above, but it could also pose a potential problem. Starting pitchers have their routines, and if they are preparing for 5 starters, the 6th starter may have a negative effect. Then again, maybe not. I am sure the nerds and their algorithms are reviewing all possibilities.
A potential greater concern right now is the bullpen. Does White go to the pen or does he go back to OKC to continue to start? Does Anderson leave the rotation and go to the pen where he was originally penciled? What to do with David Price? What late inning high leverage relievers can the Dodgers count on until Blake Treinen returns. Right now, Yency Almonte and Daniel Hudson are the most reliable, and they are not automatic.
The Dodgers just started the second 3rd of their season, and there are a lot of questions. And one of those questions is what to do with Mitch White. Stay tuned!
Mitch White’s 69th pitch of the game was a nice one.pic.twitter.com/B1ysvgJBza
— Dodger Blue (@DodgerBlue1958) June 8, 2022
One thing I wouldn’t do with Mitch is send him back to OKC. He has shown he can come out of the pen so I would think that maybe that should be his spot for the time being. He’s very capable of pitching multiple innings so he can take on a Stripling-type role until the next injury occurs.
Mr. Price? I’m afraid it’s time to say “adios”. He’s untradeable so just release him.
White is surprising me, as is Anderson. Seeins how those two along with Gonsolin are about to attempt what they have never done, Heaney and Kershaw are nursing injuries, and Buetane is fizzling, a 6 man rotation sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
Speaking of Buehler, I read something, in the Athletic I think, suggesting without the sticky he no can spin like he usta could. Simple explanation that might make sense. I wouldn’t know cuz so much I’m seeing these days doesn’t make sense I feel I’m in no position to judge.
This offense can be slowed by good pitching. I wonder how many many good pitchers they will face the rest of the way? Probably not many, right?
Not sure the lack of sticky stuff is the issue with Buehler. He was fine for several months after the change. Wasn’t until Sept/Oct that his stats started heading south.
Sam, others have pointed that out as well. One thing is for certain, he is not getting the spin rate that his 4-seamer obviously needs to get that vertical rise all the way through the pitch. His other pitches also have less spin, but his command of those pitches is what has kept him in games until his last one against a good hitting NYM team.
One person posited that Buehler has had blister problems in the past, and maybe his calluses just are not fully formed. That argument seems plausible. I think his problems in Sept/Oct were due to the heavy workload during the year. 200 IP after a 36 IP pandemic year is going to have some effect. So this year it is not the workload, but the decrease in the spin rate. Butane and Doc say it is all mechanical. If it is mechanical, why can’t Mark Prior and Connor McGuiness figure it out? That is not a knock on Prior or McGuiness who are both highly regarded and respected elite pitching coaches.
The Dodgers need Walker to pitch well (Thank you Captain Obvious). The early season magic of Gonsolin, Anderson, and White cannot continue for the entire season…can it?
6 man rotation makes some pretty good sense. Dodgers have several starters with question marks regarding performance, durability and being in uncharted territory with innings. 6 man could mitigate some of these concerns. David Price has proven to be the ultimate poison pill. HIs DFA is overdue and might even catch the attention of some underachievers that this option is on the table.
Marcus, I tend to agree with you that David Price’s time has come and gone. I remember reading about one of the key reasons why he signed with Boston as a FA. Of course the $$$ were good, but he was comfortable on an AL East team as he was familiar with the hotels, the restaurants, the surroundings, etc. Before being traded to the Dodgers, Price spent 7 of his first 8 years with Tampa and Toronto. I have nothing to base it on, but I do not think that Price has ever felt comfortable on the West Coast, as does Mookie.
it will be interesting to see what happens on June 20 when the pitcher limitation is set to 13. Price is not the only reliever that is pitching poorly right now. Someone is going to be removed from the 26 man when Kershaw comes back (Bickford?). Then another on June 20 (Graterol to OKC, White to OKC, Price DFA). The same for when Heaney comes off the IL. The relievers have two weeks to audition to stay on the 26 man.
Jeff has noted that many teams will be looking for pitching this trade season. With Kershaw, May and Heaney coming back and with this aforementioned problem with Mitch White, (Not to mention Grove and Jackson in AAAA)
I kinda have to think the Dodgers will be in a position to almost have to trade pitching for players or prospects.
That’s an interesting take Bluto. It would surprise me if it were to happen. At this point I still feel this starting rotation may be vulnerable. It’s possible May, Kershaw and Heaney, all come back at 100% and each pitch 6-7 innings every 5th day the rest of the way. I can’t help it. I just don’t see it.
That said, if all of these guys – Buehler, Urias, Gonsolin, Kershaw, Heaney, Anderson, White, Pepiot, Grove, Stone, and May share the load the rest of the way, we may not need another innings eater
Almost nobody pitches 6-7 innings. Especially in the playoffs, which this is all about.
Almost nobody? Granted there appear to be fewer each year, but actually there are several.
i just want our best pitchers, both starters and relievers, whoever they may be come October, healthy, rested and ready.
So Jeff, you and I generally tend to have potential trade conversations about this time every year (although I’m hoping everyone will chime in here).
Yesterday mlb.com had an article entitled One Trade Chip for Every Team in which they picked Landon Knack as our trade chip. Among the other players listed were relievers Bednar (Pirates), Sewald (Mariners) and Robertson (Cubs) along with DH JD Martinez (Red Sox).
The Sox are doing well enough that I’m not sure JDM will be available, but what do all of you think about the three relievers they mentioned? Are you in on any of them and, if so, what would you give up to get them? If not those guys, any other suggestions? Jorge Lopez (Orioles) might be available at the right price.
At this point, I’m hoping to get Treinen and Vgon back but not really counting on either of them (and not Duffy either). I really think we could use another high end or at least medium high end reliever. Thoughts?
Bluto’s comments got me to thinking, and my post tomorrow will be about potential trades aspects and options. But you know as we get closer, it will be our voices that will be deciding the future of the Dodgers. 😀😀
I don’t know how to break the news to you, but Andrew just told me he’s only listening to me this year and will ignore all of your advice. 🙂
Looking forward to your post.
All this talk about trades.
To answer STB, I also read that article and it was Bednar that jumped out for me.
I think a 6 man rotation won’t do anything for the bullpen other than take an arm out of it. I have always been intrigued with pairing up starters with the second pitcher knowing in advance they were coming in in the 6th regardless. Insert a reliever as needed if the starter can’t go 5.
Who are you willing to give up for Bednar, Fred?
And you are not allowed to say Muncy.
They’re going to want guys that are inexpensive and have at least 3-4 years of control, if not more.
I think Fred would trade Belli and Muncy for Bednar.
In theory, a 6 man rotation could allow starters to go an extra inning knowing they have an extra day to rest. Every team uses extra starters throughout the year. Last year we used 18. We’ve used 9 already this year.
I don’t know what the answer is. Expanded rosters seems the most logical. I just know I don’t want a repeat of last year when our best starter wasn’t able to go in the playoffs because of a dead arm.