Unstoppable Dodgers – Starting Pitching

Thirty games into the abbreviated regular season and the Dodger record is very much what everyone expected. The best in baseball. How they got there however is not quite what I expected.

Walker Buehler has not been anything we expected until his last start. The future Cy Young candidate hasn’t even been the best pitcher on the Dodgers. Right now that honor belongs to Tony Gonsolin who was last seen giving up home runs balls to Gavin Lux during a Taxi Game on Monday Night at Dodger Stadium. Now, I can understand if you think I’m being hyperbolic about Gonsolin, after all, he has made only three starts in thirty games. Sure, Tony the Tiger hasn’t given up a run, but prepare to be shocked. Even though Tony the Tiger has made only three starts out of thirty games, he leads the Dodgers in pitching fWAR. Well, he is tied with Julio Urias who gets his own paragraph. Anyway, Tony has certainly been the biggest “good” surprise of the season.

Out with the old and in with the new may have to wait a little while longer. Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen aren’t ready for the back ends of their careers just yet. Clayton got off to a rocky start when he missed opening day and started off on the IL but has made three solid starts including back to back games scores of 75 in his last two starts. Kenley has only given up one run in thirteen games and looks as confident as ever.

Dustin May has thrown the filthiest pitches by a Dodger in 2020 but he hasn’t thrown the best games. May has been consistent, with game scores ranging from 43 to 65. He has not given up more then two runs in any game but has also only thrown 29 innings in six starts. He looks like a big piece of the future rotation but I’m not sure that rotation will include this postseason.

Julio Urias seems to be a big disappointment to many Dodger fans. They keep expecting him to be a star, and if he’s not going to be star, they don’t seem to have the patience for what he is. What he is right now is very much an average starter just like Dustin May. He has made five starts, has never given up more than two runs in any start but has not dominated any start. He has game scores ranging from 47 to 58, that is a very consistent range. Yet, he gets dragged, while Dustin May is the next coming even though, Julio is just one year older than Dustin and they have basically pitched the same in 2020.

Wood came and went in one start. He might have more to his 2020 story but I’m not sure if he does. Ross Stripling replaced him and while it started off promising, Ross is the one starter who has gone off the cliff. In his first start Ross pitched one of the best games of the Dodger 2020 season putting up a game score of 72. He hasn’t had a game score above 50 since that game and has put up two real clunkers and now sports the lowest fWAR among any Dodger pitcher currently in the rotation.

The stats below were provided by www.fangraphs.com. I’m a member, every baseball fan should be. Support the writers.

NameGGSIPK%BB%WAR
Tony Gonsolin3314.223.50%3.90%0.6
Julio Urias552319.00%7.40%0.6
Clayton Kershaw442432.20%4.40%0.4
Dustin May662916.70%5.80%0.4
Walker Buehler552527.50%8.80%0.3
Ross Stripling6629.218.20%6.10%0
Alex Wood11326.70%20.00%-0.1

Looking at the Dodger pitching stats, you wouldn’t think they are 22 – 8 and the best team in baseball. Even when Walker gets straightened out and once again becomes one of the best pitchers in baseball, they might have a postseason problem. With David Price sitting out the season. With Ryu in a different country. With Kenta, will never mind about Kenta, he was never going to get a postseason start no matter how well he pitched. The Dodgers don’t really have that 3rd/4th guy that scares anyone. On the plus side, no one else does either. As good as Tony Gonsolin has been, I don’t think anyone thinks he’s the 3rd or 4th starter in October. Urias or May might get there, or they might not. Ross and Wood aren’t going to be there. They need help here, and when the Dodgers need help they usually get help.

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