Are the Los Angeles Dodgers about to see a record-setting regular season (and potentially era!) go to waste when the playoffs arrive? It’s a question worth asking, because the 2021 team notched 106 wins and had fewer pitching problems, yet still bottomed out in the NLCS in agonizing fashion.
This time around, the Dodgers are going to set a franchise wins record. Incredible. MLB’s most successful team of the last 10 years without a doubt.
But Dodgers fans know better than anyone that there are no regular season banners. And the more pitching issues that pile up, the more susceptible LA will be to an early playoff exit. So when Dustin May hit the injured list last week, nobody took it lightly.
May had already begun to lose his case for a spot in the postseason rotation, which unexpectedly opened up due to the injuries to Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin as well as the steep declining play of Andrew Heaney.
OK! So a bullpen role for May! His stuff plays better in such situations anyway, especially because he’s only seen the mound six times since undergoing Tommy John surgery about 16 months ago. But … will he even be around for the postseason?
Is Dustin May even going to pitch in the postseason for the LA Dodgers?
Even the most optimistic of Dodgers fans who might say, “Well, May was never really expected to make that big of an impact in 2022, so it’s not like the team is ‘losing’ anybody,” have to admit everything’s feeling a lot less stable following that news.
After all, just a day before May hit the IL, a Dodgers insider suggested the team was hesitant to give Tyler Anderson a postseason start before manager Dave Roberts confirmed Sunday that the left-hander will get the ball in the NLDS.
May, even in the least impactful of circumstances, was always slated for a relief role once October rolled around. He’d give the Dodgers, at the very least, a decent option and, at the very best, a 7th-8th inning guy with electric stuff. But now the right-hander may not even be able to pitch in October, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, which further thins out the pitching staff as a whole.
This all comes alongside news of Craig Kimbrel being removed from the closer role (there’s no official closer!), Blake Treinen also potentially not returning in 2022, Gonsolin’s “ceiling” being four innings should his rehab even take him that far, David Price likely not factoring into the NLDS bullpen picture, and the uncertainty surrounding Brusdar Graterol, Tommy Kahnle, Phil Bickford and Yency Almonte, and it’s hard to feel good about the postseason projections coming from this unit.
May was supposed to be a luxury. Then, he slowly turned into a need. Now, he may not be anything at all, further putting the Dodgers’ pitching situation in peril right in time for the competition to heat up.