The Dodger Pitching Staff Is Not Getting The Job Done


The Dodgers have always been a team that has revolved around great pitching. From the legends of Sandy Koufax, and Don Drysdale, to Fernando Valenzuela, and Orel Hershiser, to Hideo Nomo, the Dodgers have always been able to have good pitching staffs. The new ownership promised us that pitching would be top priority once again for the Dodgers in 2013. Sadly that is not looking like the truth, after 30 games have been played this season. We were promised good pitching, and we have had the wool pulled over our eyes.

When the Dodgers signed free agent starting pitchers Zack Greinke, and Hyun-jin Ryu, and relievers Brandon league, and J.P. Howell, it looked like the Dodgers would have a great pitching staff, one not to be reckoned with. With Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu the Dodgers on paper had one of the best starting rotations in all of Baseball. Too bad Baseball isn’t played on a piece of paper, but on the field.

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Chris Capuano (35) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With the exception of Kershaw, Ryu, and Jansen, the Dodger pitching staff has been one of the worst in all of Baseball so far this season. Whether you want to blame it on the injuries, an ineffective bullpen, or under performances, that matters not. The fact remains is the Dodgers have one of the worst pitching staffs in Baseball, and it’s a huge reason why they are in last place in the National League West.

Most people like to blame the offense for the Dodger’s problems. Yes it has been atrocious. But it’s not just the offense that has let the team down. The pitching staff has also let them down in a huge way.

The Dodger pitching staff right now, currently ranks 21st out of the 30 MLB teams with a staff ERA of 4.25. The Dodger bullpen which was thought to be a team strength coming into the season has been one of the worst and most ineffective bullpens in all of Baseball. The pathetic Dodger relievers rank 27th out of the 30 teams with a 4.67 ERA. They’ve allowed the eighth most walks of any relief corps (43), and are 28th in opponent’s batting average against. Opposing hitters are batting .267 against Dodger relievers.

Want more proof the Dodger bullpen sucks? The Dodger relievers have allowed the sixth most hits in all of Baseball with 98, and have already blown six save opportunities this season.

The Dodgers bullpen with the exception of Kenley Jansen, and Paco Rodriguez has been a source of great frustration and disappointment all season long. Filled with over the hill veterans, expensive underperforming free agents, and wet behind the ear rookies. It’s a disorganized non-cohesive mess.

The big price free agents left hander J.P. Howell, and closer Brandon League have been merely mediocre. Howell has posted a  4.15 ERA, with 12 hits, and 7 walks allowed in just 13 innings. And League has a 4.35 ERA, and has allowed 12 hits in 12 innings pitched and opposing hitters a .255 batting average against.

Of course that’s not to say it’s been all of the bullpen’s fault. The starting rotation hasn’t been getting the job done as well. The Dodger starters have failed to get past the fourth inning in four of their last seven starts. By doing that Don Mattingly has been forced to use the bullpen early in games and it’s been killing the team. You can’t win games when your starters don’t last farther than four innings, and your bullpen is allowing five or six runs per game. Of course Mattingly’s bullpen usage has been equally as bad as the pitching has been, but that’s another story I won’t get into today.

Dodger closer Brandon League has been mediocre at beast this season-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers have been besieged with injuries to their starting rotation. Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley, Stephen Fife, and Ted Lilly are all out with injuries. Chris Capuano just returned from the disabled list, and Josh Beckett has been utterly ineffective. The bullpen has had injuries too. Scott Elbert hasn’t pitched at all this season, and Shawn Tolleson may not be back at all this season after having back surgery.

According to Eric Stephen, The back end of the Dodger rotation has been pretty awful. Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Lilly, Matt Magill, and Stephen Fife have combined to make 13 starts, have a collective ERA of 6.79, have averaged only 4.69 innings per start, and have only three quality starts between them. Just three! That is unholy bad. The entire rotation after Kershaw, and Ryu have been a complete mess. The Dodger pitching staff just plain sucks balls. And it doesn’t appear it’s going to get any better anytime soon. Yes, Zack Greinke will be back eventually, but that won’t help the putrid bullpen.

The late inning pitching problems are even worse than you may imagine. Dodger pitchers have a 13.17 ERA with runners in scoring position and have allowed a .285 batting average against to opposing hitters in those same scenarios. The Dodger pitching doesn’t just suck late in games though, they suck in the beginning of games as well. Dodger pitchers have a 6.39 ERA in the first inning, which ranks them at 27th in Baseball. Opposing hitters are batting .315 against Dodger pitching in the first innings. The Dodgers have eight pitchers with an ERA above 4.00. The Dodgers have a 6.23 ERA in the month of May.

This is pathetic and unacceptable. Where are Rick Honeycutt and Ken Howell? Are they doing anything to solve this problem? We can’t win with a pitching staff this bad. The Dodgers are paying Beckett 15.75 million dollars, Capuano 7 million, Brandon League is being paid 7.5 milllion, and Guerrier is owed 4.75 million dollars. Those are some well payed failures. The proof is in the results.

Something needs to be done and quick. The Dodger pitching staff is a sad disorganized mess. The Dodgers have always been a franchise centered around good pitching. Especially starting pitching. However that doesn’t seem to be the case this season, as it seems we are doomed to watch a 21st ranked pitching staff allowing nearly six runs per game. This is not what was promised to us before the season started.

The Dodgers better fix this now. I am serious about what I am saying here. Come on Pitching staff! Either step your game up, or go home.