Starters Going Deeper
Another crucial factor why Los Angeles ran out of gas in the postseason was the fact that the bullpen was overused. In 2016, the Dodgers’ starters finished 29th in innings pitched, with 862. So far in 2017, the Dodgers’ starters are 11th in the majors, with 355 (which is on pace for just under 900 innings). This is the main difference between the Dodgers’ starters last year compared to this year. So far, LA has been keeping up with strikeouts and ERA, as they are in the top five in both categories.
Although the Dodgers haven’t had a set rotation for a while, the starters have been dominant. They lead the league in WHIP and fewest runs scored against. The top three starters: Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and Brandon McCarthy, all have five wins, ERA’s below 3.30, WHIPs below 1.2, and over 200 strikeouts combined (101 coming from Kershaw).
Rich Hill is also doing fairly well, but on and off injuries have held him back from consistency. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda have shown glimpses of brilliance but are still up and down. If they get going, the Dodgers would have one of the most dominant rotations in the Majors.