Constructing the Playoff Roster – The Rotation

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Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Contenders: Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Zack Greinke, Brett Anderson, Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger

In the offseason the Dodgers acquired Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson to solidify an already impressive rotation. However, McCarthy needed Tommy John and Hyun-Jin Ryu tore his labrum sending the rotation into a state of flux and the fans into a state of panic. The Dodgers then brought in Alex Wood and Mat Latos in a 3 team deal at the non-waiver trade deadline and whilst Alex Wood has been a welcome relief (despite a horrendous outing yesterday in Arizona), Mat Latos has largely struggled. This does however, give us our 4 starting pitchers for the playoffs and they look like this:

Game 1: Clayton Kershaw – 197.1 IP, 2.15 ERA, 259 SO, 0.90 WHIP
I originally put Zack Greinke in this spot, in order to remove some of the pressure that Clayton Kershaw has faced in the past few post-seasons. However, scheduling the big left-hander to throw Game 2 of a play off series just felt like a crime. Kershaw once again sits atop of most pitching leader boards and has set a new career high in strikeouts. After a rough start to the year, Kershaw has turned it around of late and is now an outside shot at yet another Cy Young. Arguably the best pitcher alive, Kershaw gets the nod in game 1.

Game 2: Zack Greinke – 192.2 IP, 1.68 ERA, 159 SO, 0.86 WHIP

If Clayton Kershaw is an outside shot at the Cy Young then Zack Greinke is the run away favourite and forms the 2nd part of an enviable one-two punch. After getting the start at the All-Star Game, Greinke has continued his hot run of form through the 2nd half. As a result, Grienke gets the ball in game 2.

Game 3: Brett Anderson – 158.0 IP, 3.36 ERA, 104 SO, 1.31 WHIP

Signed in the off-season, Anderson has always had high upside but has seen injuries interrupt most of his career. This year however, has been a success for him as he leads the league in groundball percentage and has helped solidify a rotation that has been volatile at times. He may not be as a dominant as the first two (who is?) but provides a solid option for game 3.

Game 4: Alex Wood – 163.0 IP, 3.81 ERA, 123 SO, 1.44 WHIP

Ok let’s be clear, there is nothing pretty about watching Alex Wood pitch. His delivery is funky, borderline painful to watch and he is forever pitching out of trouble. He does however usually find his way out of trouble. He’s young and has already shown that he can be a legitimate number 2 type starter with the Braves last year. If he can navigate the first inning (18 runs allowed this year) and keep the walks down Wood could be a real x-factor come October.

So there it is, your starting rotation. Am I right? Am I wrong? Let me know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check in tomorrow when I examine who winds up in the bullpen.