Dodgers need two aces to replicate the World Series blueprint
The Dodgers will be watching the World Series rather than participating like all but two of the teams in MLB. The plan to get there should be clear.
The 2019 World Series is set as the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros will begin play on Tuesday. The Nationals stunned the Dodgers in game five of the NLDS and then swept the Cardinals to secure their first World Series appearance.
The Astros beat the Yankees on a walk-off home run and if there is one thing for the Dodgers to take away from both teams, it starts at the top of both club’s rotations. Not only do the Astros and Nationals have three very good starting pitchers in their rotation but each have two aces at the top of their rotation.
The Astros have Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, while the Nationals have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. The Dodgers had Hyun-Jin Ryu lead MLB in ERA for the 2019 season but he is a finesse pitcher and doesn’t have the hard throwing ace stuff that guys like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Max Scherzer have.
The good news for the Dodgers is that they do have Walker Buehler who emerged as the team’s big game pitcher this October. Buehler was stellar in both of his postseason starts during the NLDS and if it weren’t for a blown lead by Clayton Kershaw, Buehler would have been the team’s MVP of the first round.
The bad news for the Dodgers is that they lack that second ace in their rotation. Clayton Kershaw is more of a number three starter these days and while pitchers such as Julio Urias or Dustin May could emerge as a top of the rotation starter one day, expecting one of them to make the jump in 2020 would be a reach.
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This hot stove season there could be a pair of aces on the free agent market if Stephen Strasburg opts out of his deal with the Washington Nationals. Then there is Gerrit Cole who will become a free agent and most likely head west if the Dodgers or Angels offer him a lucrative deal. Strasburg is also a So Cal guy so playing for the Dodgers could appeal to him if he opts out.
Whether it comes via free agency or through a trade the Dodgers need to find a second ace to pair with Walker Buehler at the top of their rotation. Kershaw, Urias, May, Gonsolin, Maeda, and Stripling give the Dodgers plenty of options for the back of their rotation but LA needs one more ace to follow the World Series blueprint.
There have already been rumors linking the Dodgers to Anthony Rendon but the big need this winter is a number two starter. While the offense struggled with runners in scoring position, the lineup remains talented it is just a matter of executing in October. The rotation on the other hand, lacks a legitimate number two starter.
After being defeated by the Washington Nationals and seeing the Houston Astros get to another World Series behind their two aces the blueprint to get back to the World Series should be crystal clear for the Dodgers. Get another ace so that come next October, the Dodger rotation can stack up to any rotation in the game.