This year’s LAD team is not a 111 win team when we knew who would be on the roster (or at least 25 of the 26 man roster). This is not the 2017 team where everyone knew their role. As of the publication of this post there are 24 games remaining, and this is a team with a lot of unknowns.
What we do know is:
- Julio Urías will not be pitching in the playoffs.
- Clayton Kershaw is fighting with a barking shoulder. What Dave Roberts had to add.
“The stuff might be down. It’s where he’s at right now, physically. But willing and wanting to take the baseball is huge. He’s going to keep going until he can’t.”
“He’s going to keep going. He’s going to keep going until he can’t. If he is able to take the baseball, he’s going to take the baseball. This has nothing to do with where the rotation’s at, who’s available, who’s not. It’s about Clayton taking the baseball for us and us managing each game he throws.”
- Bobby Miller is showing he is a legit playoff starting pitcher.
- Lance Lynn gives up too many HRs.
- The Dodgers now have three rookies in the rotation: Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Emmet Sheehan.
What we may not know:
- Is there an answer to the number of HRs Lynn gives up? Is he someone the Dodgers trust to put in the rotation in the playoffs?
- Is Bobby Miller ready for the playoffs spotlight? Not a contradiction to #3 above. He has the ability to start in the playoffs, but will the environment be too much for him? Especially as emotional as he can get?
- Is Ryan Pepiot ready for the playoffs spotlight?
- Is Emmet Sheehan or Gavin Stone or Michael Grove?
- Can Ran Yarbrough be considered a potential playoff starter?
- Will this be the last hurrah for Clayton Kershaw? As a Dodger? As a MLB pitcher?
- Will the Dodgers hit WRISP in the playoffs?
- Is there anyway that Walker Buehler will be ready to pitch for the playoffs?
- Is there a worse umpire than Angel Hernandez in organized baseball?
One other thing we know. If there is any way at all that Clayton Kershaw can pitch, he will take the ball. He will not go to Doc the day of a Game 6 start and tell him he cannot pitch that day, ala Max Scherzer.
We also know that if the Dodgers leave it up to Walker Buehler, he will do whatever he can to start a game. I am not in favor of this, but I am not Walker Buehler or Dodger management.
I am giving a pass to Ryan Yarbrough in the Tuesday Fish game. He and his wife are expecting their 2nd child. He was anticipated to go on paternity leave on Tuesday, but it was still not time, so he stayed on the roster and pitched. It was not his best outing, but I do not believe his head was in the game. It was easily his worst game as a LAD.
If Kersh cannot go, do we see a Gavin Stone/Emmet Sheehan piggyback as a Game 4 starter. That would be:
- Bobby Miller
- Ryan Pepiot
- Lance Lynn
- Gavin Stone/Emmet Sheehan
Wild card? Walker Buehler instead of Stone or Sheehan. Instead of Lynn?
Does Ryan Yarbrough move into the rotation?
Is that a championship rotation? On paper, NO. But the game is not played on paper or in a simulated computer game. There is something different about this Dodgers’ team. With the injuries they have been dealt with, there is no way they should be running away with the NL West…again. And yet they have the 2nd best record in the NL and 3rd best in MLB. They are not as talented, but their will to win is somewhat reminiscent of the 2017 team. Can they keep it up? Let’s not forget. From August 26 through September 11,2017, the Dodgers lost 16 of 17 games, including 11 in a row. Let’s also remember that the the Dodgers were 24-5 in August before this current dismal run.
They will not be favored, but they can beat Atlanta in a short series. Before we announce the demise of this team, can we at least wait until they play the games before we proceed with the autopsy? The 2018 rotation of Kershaw, Ryu, Hill, Buehler was not special that year. Ryu was injured most of the year and Kershaw much of it. Hill was getting older and Buehler a rookie. And yet they beat a better Milwaukee Brewers team to get to the WS. The Brewers Jhoulys Chacin and Wade Miley were the best pitchers in the NLCS.
This was supposed to be a transition year for the Dodgers. They did not expect to get as much ML exposure for their rookie pitchers, and yet they did. While it did not come without knocks, all showed they can be ML pitchers. How valuable will playoff experience be for the rookies who are expected to break with LAD in 2024? Right now, the rookies might be the best rotation the Dodgers can put together.
With somewhat of a snowball effect, how invaluable are the promotions to AAA for:?
- Nick Frasso
- Alec Gamboa
- Kyle Hurt
- Landon Knack
There were not many (if any) front line starters available this past winter. There probably will not be many (any) this winter. So the future of the Dodgers is going to depend a lot with the progression of the rookies this year, and those that will be following.
We will get more into what players should LAD target next year at a later time, but one name I will be following will be Sonny Gray. Can he play in large city, or would he tank in LA as he did in NY?
Because of the state of their starting pitching, will AF/BG/Doc choose multiple multi-inning pitchers for the playoff rosters? Regardless if they are on the roster, they will all be on the taxi squad…just in case. Per the MLB rules: Teams carry extra players throughout the postseason in the event of injuries, and those players, as well as players on the injured list, can be in the dugout during games, within reason.
Another rule is that if a player is removed from the roster due to an injury, they cannot return to the roster for that round or the subsequent round.
Which single inning relievers will be playoff relievers? It is looking like none of Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, or Yency Almonte will be ready to pitch in the playoffs. Joe Kelly is a question today, but is due to go on a rehab assignment this week
If Yarbrough is going to be a reliever, will LAD dare to carry 4 LHRP?
- Ryan Yarbrough
- Caleb Ferguson
- Alex Vesia (on the cusp)
- Victor González (very doubtful)
Who are the RHRP who will be considered?
- Evan Phillips
- Ryan Brasier
- Brusdar Graterol
- Shelby Miller
- Joe Kelly (ready for rehab)
- Gus Varland (very doubtful)
- Michael Grove
There is still too much time left in the season to predict playoff rosters for relief pitching. Plus which starting pitchers will be injury free enough to pitch? Or good enough to pitch?
One other question. Playoff shares are divided by the players. Regardless of the size of the LAD bonus pool, will the players vote Julio Urías a share? A full share?