Now that the 2019 season has come to an end, we take a look back at the historic year the Dodgers were able to accomplish.
Although there were many factors that led to the team having the most wins in franchise history, there are three key takeaways from the Dodgers’ historic 2019 season:
Outstanding starting pitching
It is no surprise the Dodgers had outstanding pitching, but this year exceeded all expectations. The starting rotation of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, and Kenta Maeda dominated the mound.
The leader of the pack being Ryu, who needless to say had one of the best years of his career. Ryu finished the year with an ERA of 2.32, had 163 strikeouts, and held a record of 14-5. Ryu made his first all-star appearance and continued to dominate throughout the rest of the season.
As the season was nearing its end, he began losing his signature control which was fixed by a short break during September. While he missed a couple of games, it cost him the NL Cy Young award, in which he came in second place to Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom.
Many would call this one of Clayton Kershaw’s less enticing years, but in comparison to the rest of the pitchers in the league, he was still pretty dominating. Kershaw was able to finish the year with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and had a record of 16-5 record.
Although those numbers seem outstanding, they can be considered an off-year for Kershaw oddly enough. However, he was still able to be a top 15 pitcher in MLB. Sadly, his ability to perform through the year will be overlooked due to the back-to-back homers he allowed in game five of the 2019 NLDS.
One name that stood out to Dodgers fans the most was that of Walker Buehler. As the youngest in the starting rotation, the 25-year-old was able to prove himself to the team and the fans. Buehler ended the year with an ERA of 3.26, had 215 strikeouts, and a record of 14-4.
What made Buehler stand out apart from his teammates was his aggressiveness with strikeouts. In June, in a game versus the Rockies, Buehler had his first complete game with a whopping 16 strikeouts, a career-high. He was able to continue his dominance in the postseason and will have a bright future as a starter next season.
Although Rich Hill missed a portion of the season with an injury, the veteran was still able to showcase that he still has the ability to compete with these great pitchers by his side. In the 14 games he started he held an ERA of 2.45, had 72 strikeouts, and had a record of 4-1.
Unfortunately for Hill, he suffered strenuous injury throughout the second half of the season and was not able to pitch a fraction of what he used to. Many wonder if the veteran will retire or come back as a reliever for the 2020 season if he can handle the injuries.
Lastly, Kenta Maeda was able to be a top performer for the Dodgers this year. As a starter, he had an ERA of 4.14, had 147 strikeouts, and a record of 8-8. Maeda was able to stay consistent throughout the season in his role as a starter, but what made his breakthrough was his reliever role.
Towards the end of the season, Manager Dave Roberts moved Maeda to the bullpen where he was able to shine. In 11 games coming out of the pen, he had an ERA of 3.24, had 22 strikeouts, and filled in as the closer for a few occasions.
With these five pitchers, the Dodgers starting rotation was a threat to any opponent and made for great baseball. With help from the offense, these pitchers were able to shine this season and showcase their abilities.