Would you like Cliff Lee? Would ya’? Would ya’?
Pay me Elbert, McDonald, Lambo and DeWitt. Thank you very much!
Do you know how many setbacks these guys usually have? Haven’t you observed Jason Schmidt, Carpenter and others?
Before I go on, I want to print part of what Jon Weisman wrote last week. Read it c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y!
The number of innings that Dodger starting pitchers throw is irrelevant unless put in context with the overall team total. To go to an extreme hypothetical, it would be perfectly fine for Dodger starting pitchers to average one inning per game if the bullpen comprised seven Sidd Finches who had no trouble handling the other eight innings.
The Dodgers’ needs are considerably more moderate.
Through Thursday, Dodger starting pitchers averaged 5.63 innings per game, 0.18 below the National League average and 0.50 behind league-leading Chicago. That’s the difference the Dodger bullpen has had to make up.
This season, Ramon Troncoso has thrown 19 percent of the Dodger relief innings, Ronald Belisario 17 percent and Jonathan Broxton 14 percent.
That means the effect of Dodger starting pitchers not leading the league in innings has been …
… Troncoso has had to get 0.10 extra innings per game.
… Belisario has had to get 0.09 extra innings per game.
… Broxton has had to get 0.07 extra innings per game.
For Troncoso, the busiest pitcher, that’s one extra inning every 10 games.
Going forward, if all remains the same, that’s all they’ll have to do. And that’s without the Dodger starting pitchers improving by that small margin. And that’s without another relief pitcher taking on more of the load, something the Dodgers might afford with their large lead in the division, the resurgence of Guillermo Mota, the rise of Brent Leach or the emergence of another arm.
Those guys may be working hard, but it’s not the starting pitchers’ fault. And almost without exception, they have been getting plenty of rest. Even Ronald Belisario’s consecutive outings Thursday and Friday came after four days off.
The only thing the Dodgers need to worry about right now regarding their pitching is a dip in quality. As far as quantity, I swear to you, they are doing fine.
I think those of you who are screeming for a starter are making knee-jerk reactions based upon fear, not fact.
Here are the facts:
- Chad Billingsley is one of the best starters in all of baseball statistically over the last year. Period! End of story. Cole Hamels ERA is 1.4 points above Billingsleys. C-Bill has stumbled lately. All starters do (sooner or later), but his ERA is still barely over 3.00.
- Clayton Kershaw has a 2.36 ERA over the past 30 days? You have seen him pitch several good games in a row. Any questions?
- Hiroki Kuroda appears sound, hasn’t walked a batter in quite a while and has had one exceptional outing. His fastball is regularly in the 95+ range and he is using all his pitches. I think he is just getting it back.
- Randy Wolf has had several bad starts recently, which may or may not be attributed to his “cough.” He is the only starter (so far) with an injury history, so you have a right to exercise fear here. There is nothing I have seen that leads me to believe he is injured. Let’s see if he bounces back.
- Why would we sign Pedro or Sheets when we have a rehab project (Jason Schmidt) who just pitched 7-2/3 innings and may be ready to return… finally? Milton just returned only to strain his back, but I see no reason he can’t hold down #5, or Stults for that matter. Elbert, Lindblom & McDonald haven’t even been considered.
Now, in the next 30 days, I could change my mind, but right now, right here, I am fine with our starters! But I am also the guy who buys stocks when others are selling. I don’t follow the crowd, because the crowd is ALWAYS wrong! Does this mean I think we have no problems? Not in the least. Our hitting over the past month has become deplorable! More tomorrow!
Sad Story: Jerry Crowe of The LA Times on the guy who used to be D.D.
FINALLY: I WOULD trade Elbert, Stults. McDonald, DeWitt, Lambo and Ethier for Cliff Lee and Grady Siezmore.