Despite the 2017 Dodgers having one of the best pitchers ever to play the game, the 1988 Dodgers had an excellent rotation that stacks up well compared to the 2017 Dodgers.
The 1988 Dodger rotation:
Orel Hershiser – 23-8, 2.26 ERA, 3.18 FIP
Tim Leary – 17-11, 2.91 ERA, 2.75 FIP
Tim Belcher – 2.91 ERA, 2.54 FIP
Fernando Valenzuela – 4.24 ERA, 4.48 FIP
Don Sutton – 3.92 ERA, 3.87 FIP
The 2017 Dodger rotation (for the most part):
Clayton Kershaw – 15-2, 2.04 ERA, 2.93 FIP
Alex Wood – 13-1, 2.33 ERA, 2.56 FIP
Rich Hill – 8-4, 3.47 ERA, 3.98 FIP
Brandon McCarthy – 6-4, 3.84 ERA, 3.34 FIP
Yu Darvish – 7-9, 3.81 ERA, 3.81 FIP
While the 1988 Dodger rotation had three starting pitchers with an ERA under three, the 2017 Dodger rotation has all five starting pitchers with an ERA under four. As good as the “bulldog” Orel Hershiser was in 1988, Clayton Kershaw has been even better this year when he is healthy. Alex Wood has also been better than any of the 1988 rotation members except for Hershiser.
Yu Darvish also throws in a new wrinkle to the 2017 Dodger rotation. While he is having a sub-par season by his standards, Darvish is still one of the most filthy pitchers in baseball when healthy. His stuff looks like a created player on MLB the show; it is truly wipeout stuff. It’s hard to swap ERA’s but the league is putting up way higher offensive numbers in today’s game than 1988 so most of the 1988 rotation members would likely struggle in today’s game except for Hershiser.
Edge: The 2017 starting rotation gets the nod due to the fact like guys like Kershaw, Darvish, and even Alex Wood, would likely dominate the offensively challenged league of 1988.