3 Andrew Friedman moves that doomed the 2022 Dodgers

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Joey Gallo #12 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his solo homerun to tie the game 2-2 with the Colorado Rockies, during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on October 04, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Joey Gallo #12 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his solo homerun to tie the game 2-2 with the Colorado Rockies, during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on October 04, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

1. No Deadline Reinforcements After Walker Buehler Injury

Of all the years, even though the Dodgers’ bullpen held up admirably while battling injuries and poor play all season, LA couldn’t afford a bullpen game in the first round. Though that bullpen showing in Game 3 was actually good, it exhausted the unit for Game 4, which is when it all came crashing down. Tommy Kahnle and Yency Almonte finally faltered, and that was it.

The Dodgers knew — or at least had a hunch — that Walker Buehler wouldn’t be returning for 2022 as early as May. Even if he was able to return, were they really going to bank on a surgically-repaired elbow to carry them through October?

So when Friedman didn’t do anything to bolster the rotation at the deadline, many were rightfully puzzled. While Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson proved to be a killer top three, Urías’ workload was a concern, Kershaw’s injuries and overall postseason performance was another, and Anderson’s lack of experience further added to the question marks.

Though only Kershaw “faltered” (you’d like a better start than five innings and three earned from your No. 2), the lack of a fourth starter further taxed the bullpen, didn’t exactly strike fear into the Padres, and left the Dodgers a bit more disorganized come playoff time than many would like to admit.

Losing Buehler, the team’s literal postseason ace, was colossal. There was no “replacing” him, but options existed to strengthen the rotation. There was too much reliance on Andrew Heaney’s impressive start to the year. There was too much reliance on Dustin May’s return from Tommy John surgery. There was too much reliance on Tony Gonsolin’s All-Star season (though, we’ll admit, that injury was untimely and contributed to the rotation strength/bullpen issues in that Game 3).

In the end, the Dodgers would’ve been better off bringing back May as a reliever from the get-go, jettisoning a guy like David Price who didn’t contribute much of anything, and adding another reliable starter at the deadline.

There were too many unknowns with all the other scenarios. The Dodgers relied on everything to “play out” the manner in which they had hoped, and a few unexpected issues ended up costing them.

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