It may seem like everything has gone right for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, but that’s actually not the case.
Clayton Kershaw hasn’t pitched since July 23 because of a back injury, and promising left-hander Julio Urias was lost to shoulder problems.
The reason the Dodgers are on pace to win 115 games is because no matter who has been on the mound, their starting pitching has been sharp. Los Angeles has six players with at least 16 starts for the Dodgers, and they all have ERAs of 3.84 or lower.
And that doesn’t even include Yu Darvish, who had 10 strikeouts in his debut for the Dodgers on Friday night after being acquired in a trade from Texas.
This past week has been a microcosm of the season. Los Angeles went 5-1, and in the five wins, starters Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Darvish, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed four runs in 32 innings.
It was a dominant stretch that didn’t even include Kershaw, who is set to rejoin the team Monday night in Phoenix.
The depth of this staff has allowed the Dodgers to withstand injuries, not just to Kershaw and Urias, but also to Maeda (hamstring issue in May) and Ryu (bruised foot in July). And Hill and Brandon McCarthy have had blister concerns.
Kershaw, Wood, Maeda, Ryu, McCarthy and Hill have all thrown at least 83 innings, but only Kershaw has pitched more than 110. What matters is that those six pitchers have been effective _ and that their injuries haven’t overlapped enough to cause any major problems.
With Darvish now in the mix, the Dodgers will have some interesting decisions to make down the stretch. If everyone is healthy, the post-season rotation would almost certainly include Kershaw, Darvish and Wood, who is 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA. Hill’s strikeout numbers make him an enticing option as well, but Ryu and Maeda may not be done making their cases yet.
Here are a few other developments from around baseball:
Dave Dombrowski has rarely been one to make headlines with his public comments, but Boston’s president of baseball operations added some juice to the rivalry with the Yankees after New York general manager Brian Cashman acquired Sonny Gray from Oakland at the deadline.
“I think that Brian has made them the Golden State Warriors and we’re the significant underdogs,” Dombrowski said. “Like he said earlier in the year, that he didn’t know how the Red Sox would lose a game, I think it’ll be the same: I don’t know how they’ll lose a game right now.”
Dombrowski was alluding to a preseason comment by Cashman, who compared the Red Sox to the Warriors after Boston acquired ace pitcher Chris Sale.
For what it’s worth, it’s Dombrowski’s Red Sox who have now won six in a row to take a three-game lead over New York atop the AL East.
The Detroit Tigers had an amusing moment in Friday night’s win over Baltimore when they collectively seemed to forget how many outs there were . Justin Verlander struck out Jonathan Schoop for the third out of the bottom of the third inning, but the Tigers began throwing the ball around the horn and remained on the field before realizing the inning was over.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, hit three home runs, including a tiebreaking shot in the ninth inning of Arizona’s 10-8 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.