If the Los Angeles Dodgers are to maintain their lead in the National League West standings, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and the rest of the starting rotation will likely have had a significant impact.
Greinke and Kershaw have led the rotation with a combined 22-7 record. Hyun-Jin Ryu has been a steady No. 3 starter, and Josh Beckett and Dan Haren have ebbed and flowed with Beckett being the more productive of the two.
Manager Don Mattingly has previously touched on the strength of the Dodgers’ pitching and its importance to the team’s postseason hopes.
Mattingly recently offered a bit of a different perspective by saying the Dodgers will need to score and not always rely on a shutout, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
We’re capable of scoring runs and doing other things to win games. You can’t just think you’re going to get shutouts every day,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re going to have to put some runs on the board. I think we’ve shown we’re capable of that. You have to win in all different ways.
However, he furthered his remarks by again highlighting the importance of pitching:
But I think we’re built with pitching and we’re still looking at that.”
Including relievers, Dodgers pitchers have generally thrown well. There have been peaks and valleys and the bullpen is an area general manager Ned Colletti has said he would like to address.
That appeared to be in the works with a report the Dodgers would pursue Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. However, it was later refuted.
Although the Dodgers will be able to shorten their rotation once the playoffs begin, acquiring a starting pitcher may also be of need given Beckett’s injury concern and Haren’s inconsistency.
The Dodgers won a pair of 1-0 games in the final days before the All-Star break and improved to 16-14 in one-run games. Pitching may lead the way for the Dodgers moving forward, but as Mattingly indicated, a time will likely come when the offense needs to bail the team out.
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