The Los Angeles Dodgers have subsisted in 2022 with a rotation mostly made up of surprise performers, full of pitchers who get by on guile rather than dominant stuff.
Shoutout to Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney and, hell, Clayton Kershaw, who looked MLB trends in the eye and said, “We induce soft contact with 92. Sorry!” But even diehard fans must admit it’s an interesting way to build a team in a season where velocities are more electric than ever.
The job is getting done, regardless of the unexpected names driving the bus, but one key injection of youth could further boggle opponents’ minds by switching everything midstream. That’d be 24-year-old Dustin May, who seems beyond ready for a return from Tommy John while revving himself up at the minor-league level.
So far, so good for May, who’s whiffed a ridiculous 33 men in 19 innings across four Triple-A starts, all while walking just six men as he knocks on the door of a big-league promotion. Not for nothing, too, but the Triple-A Pacific Coast League is a hitter’s haven, where most elite pitchers never tread in order to preserve their ERAs.
May’s still working on longevity (he’s been pushed to five innings in his past two outings), but it’s impossible for him to get more immaculate than he already was on Sunday against Round Rock.
Dodgers’ Dustin May posts immaculate inning
Oh. Four hits? 10 strikeouts? A nine-pitch inning packed with fastballs and filthy splitters? That works.
There were questions a few weeks back about whether Walker Buehler would return in the rotation or the bullpen, which seemed like an odd debate to spark all of a sudden. If Buehler could return at all, it seemed like telling him to prepare the way he was used to rather than trying to force him into a bullpen role would make more sense.
Well … as it turns out, that’ll no longer be an issue; Buehler’s balky elbow gave all the way out, and instead of helping to carry the team down the stretch, Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform season-ending surgery on the righty next week.
May showing up and shoving might’ve sentenced him to the bullpen if not for this unfortunate update. Now? Consider those five-and-six-inning outings to be the norm, as he’ll likely be piggy-backed rather than doing the piggy-backing himself. Losing those Buehler innings will be crucial, unless May can cover them with upgraded stuff after a year-and-a-half off.
The Dodgers will take May in whatever capacity they can get him, and based on his recent tune-ups, he’s ready for a new assignment. It certainly won’t hurt the team with the best record in baseball.