Clayton Kershaw’s health for the remainder of the 2022 season is up in the air. Walker Buehler is done until 2024. Andrew Heaney has suffered from countless injuries (and has no postseason experience). Tyler Anderson has just seven playoff innings under his belt, all of which came back in 2018.
That leaves the Los Angeles Dodgers with only Julio Urías as their ironclad October option. Tony Gonsolin has been incredible this year, but his 9.45 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in seven postseason games across 2020 and 2021 leaves more questions than answers when the stakes are elevated.
But wait! Is that Dustin May’s music?! The right-hander returned this past weekend after a 15-month layoff from Tommy John surgery and absolutely dominated the Miami Marlins. He tossed five scoreless innings and struck out nine batters while only surrendering one hit and two walks. He did it on 71 pitches, too.
That last tidbit is perhaps most important. Initially, some fans thought May would be coming back as a reliever because he’s missed so much time and would be returning for the final ~6 weeks of the regular season.
But the fact the Dodgers took longer with his rehab and (sort of) unleashed him in his first MLB game action since May of 2021 shows he’s fully expected to be a starter and that he’ll be relied upon for important postseason innings.
Dustin May’s return to the Dodgers may have saved the postseason rotation
The Dodgers have long been invested in May’s future, as evidenced to the start of his MLB career. His debut in 2019 was promising, and then he immediately provided an impact during the shortened 2020 season, seeing action in six postseason games (though the results weren’t the greatest).
Nonetheless, May already rocking with his full arsenal (sinker, curveball, four-seamer, cutter and changeup) has to change manager Dave Roberts’ plan for the postseason. Maybe Heaney is demoted to a bullpen role for multi-inning work? Perhaps the same goes for Anderson if Kershaw stays healthy?
It’s just wild the Dodgers have lost Buehler, Max Scherzer and Trevor Bauer, but still have the requisite depth to be a postseason behemoth.
But you have to admit for a second there, Dodgers fans, that it was a bit nerve-wracking to know Buehler wouldn’t be there for a 2022 run with Kershaw being shelved with a back injury. Nobody’s doubting Urías, Anderson and Gonsolin, but when you had a staff that allowed two of those guys to be luxurious depth options, it was much more comforting.
Thankfully, May is back and looked like an ace against the Marlins. That’s step one. He’ll battle Miami once more over the weekend and will then be lined up to face the San Diego Padres for his next two, which should give fans a better gauge of how he’ll look against a contender.