With only a few days until the season officially starts, there is still a pretty sizable question mark surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers and the fifth spot in their rotation. It was originally supposed to go to Alex Wood, but injuries pushed him into the number four spot. Now, it’s a two-man race.
The two men vying for the spot are right-handers Carlos Frias and Ross Stripling. Each have their warts, but each also has their advantages. The real story here is that the Dodgers really just need an innings-eater out of that spot in the rotation. Someone who can just soak up enough work to help.
“I wouldn’t limit it to one start,” [manager Dave] Roberts said. “That fifth starter I would assume will make a couple starts, then we’ll kind of evaluate from there, but it’s also kind of based on how they’re throwing.”
It’s an interesting decision since the fifth starter would only need to make one start in the team’s first 17 games of the season. In theory, that means that Clayton Kershaw and the better pitchers on the team could pitch more in order to take advantage of the schedule without using a fifth starter.
For now, the debate rages on between Frias and Stripling. While Frias is up with the team right now and Stripling is down in minor league camp, that doesn’t mean Stripling couldn’t win the job. If you were a betting person, you’d probably bet on Frias. But anything is still certainly possible right now.
All the fifth starter has to do is buy some time until Mike Bolsinger or Brandon Beachy can return from their injuries in order to take their place in the rotation. Eat innings, be effective, and help the Dodgers out in any way that you can. That’s what is required of the fifth starter.