The Los Angeles Dodgers have endured more turnover on their pitching staff than any other club in the league this season.
Putting the bullpen, which has been ransacked itself, aside for a moment, the Dodgers’ starting rotation looks nothing like what fans envisioned at the start of the year.
Dustin May was lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Trevor Bauer, well, he’ll be lucky to pitch in MLB again at this rate. Clayton Kershaw’s return from elbow inflammation was delayed until the first week of September. Danny Duffy was just transferred to the 60-day IL.
In terms of pitchers who began the year in the rotation, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias were the only guys left standing coming into Saturday’s game against the Mets.
Well, that changed about an hour before first pitch, as the Dodgers placed Urias on the 10-day injured list with a left calf contusion. While it would be understandable for fans to hit the panic button, we would hold off on that for the time being, and here’s why.
Julio Urias is headed to the IL, but Dodgers fans shouldn’t overreact.
Dodgers fans held their breath when Urias was hit by a pitch during Los Angeles’ extra-inning win over the Mets on Friday. However, concerns were swiftly quelled as the star left-hander, who leads MLB with 13 wins, stayed in the game to pitch two more innings.
Though we certainly aren’t downplaying the injury, it looks like Urias landing on the IL is only related to the HBP. Unless he aggravated it by refusing to come out of the game, it sounds like the Dodgers are merely being precautionary with the 25-year-old.
If that’s the case, Urias could only end up missing one start. While the Dodgers’ rotation is already shorthanded to begin with and the bullpen is dealing with their own injuries and being taxed beyond belief, surely the club could cover for Urias’ turn in the rotation with a bullpen game.
It’s also feasible that Los Angeles wants to give Urias an extended rest before the stretch run. After all, the six-year pro is currently in the midst of the biggest workload of his career, as he’s pitched 139.2 innings over 24 starts. Both of those tallies are career-highs.
Urias’ previous high for a single season came in 2019, when he logged 79.2 innings in 37 appearances between the rotation and bullpen.
While Urias could likely work through this injury, the Dodgers are being smart by shutting him down for the next 10 days. He’s clearly going to play a huge role in whatever success the club enjoys this season, so why roll the dice and risk him tweaking something else?
Again, we’re talking about a young pitcher throwing the most innings of his career by a large margin. As decimated as the Dodgers’ pitching staff is, this is the right move, even though it means they’ll be at a disadvantage during Urias’ next turn in the rotation.