The Los Angeles Dodgers are against the ropes, having sacrificed homefield advantage to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS, a team they buried by 16 games in the full-season 2023 NL West standings.
It's an eerily similar position to the one the Dodgers were in last season, when they won 111 regular season games before quickly expiring against the Padres. It was a collapse that inspired columns about how the playoffs were overrated anyway, and the real champions were the teams with the stamina to power their way through the regular season. This take was absorbed by the Atlanta Braves this October, and has quickly evolved into an even uglier menace.
Last season, though, the Dodgers had Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson set up for Games 3 and 4. Not exactly Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, but both men had made the All-Star team. There was a modicum of trust there -- trust that quickly backfired, but still!
This year? They've got veteran hurler/trade deadline acquisition Lance Lynn set for Game 3, with bulk options like Ryan Pepiot and Ryan Yarbrough behind him. A potential Game 4 could feature a clearly compromised Clayton Kershaw trying to fight through a shoulder issue.
Hopefully, neither of those two men appear on some sort of list of the pitchers with the worst +/- disparity between their career regular-season and postseason ERAs. Oh, wait, both of them are on there in the top five! Kershaw's No. 2. Lynn's No. 5. Yuck.
Dodgers starting two of five all-time pitchers with worst postseason vs regular season ERA in 2023 MLB Playoffs
To make matters worse, Lynn is mired in a deeply bizarre season that might lead to him being yanked just as quickly as a jittery Bobby Miller was in Game 2.
Lynn was acquired to be the Dodgers' secondary trade deadline import, but Eduardo Rodriguez never made it. Instead, Mark Prior would have to make do with the burly righty with the big fastball and 6.47 ERA in Chicago, hoping that the bright lights would motivate him to return to his Team USA form.
Lynn's ERA sank to 4.36, but the strikeouts slowed down; he whiffed 10.8 men per nine innings in a White Sox uniform, but just 6.6 in Dodger Blue. His homers soared in Los Angeles, as 16 of his league-leading 44 dingers allowed came in just 64 post-deadline innings.
You have to make a large number of postseason starts to qualify for a "min. 50 lifetime innings pitched" list, but that doesn't make Lynn's (and Kershaw's) presence among the damned any more comforting. Yarbrough and pain and pray for rain ... in the desert?