Dodgers Midseason Report Card: Starting Rotation Finds A Way

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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Clayton Kershaw:

2015 Stats: 6-6, 18 GS, 123 IP, 2.85 ERA, 160 K, 1.02 WHIP.
Advanced Stats: 2.39 FIP, 129 ERA+, 11.7 K/9, 2,0 BB/9, 2.4 WAR.

On the surface, a 6-6 record is not good, especially for a pitcher the caliber of Kershaw. But if you really look at the stats Kershaw is still the dominant pitcher that won him three Cy Youngs in the last four years. His K/9 ratio is the highest of his career and his FIP is the second lowest of his career behind only last season. But Kershaw will be the first one to tell you that he should be pitching better. He’s given up 11 homers this season and the season is only halfway done. The most homers he’s given up in a season is 16 in 2012. Also, batters are batting .242 with runners in scoring position against him, a number that is up from .190 last season.

Kershaw has been a lot better as of late though, as his ERA in his last nine starts is 1.53. If he can continue that into the second half of the season then with his high strikeout rate he will once again be in the Cy Young discussion. But because the Dodgers have only won nine of his 18 starts this season, there’s no way Kershaw can get an A grade for his first half.

Grade: B

Zack Greinke:

2015 Stats: 8-2, 18 GS, 123.1 IP, 1.39 ERA, 106 K, 0.84 WHIP.
Advanced Stats: 2.66 FIP, 265 ERA+, 7.7 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 5.5 WAR.

As Kershaw has struggled this season, Greinke has picked up the slack and become the ace that the Dodgers hoped he would be when they signed him. Seventeen of his 18 starts have been quality starts and he has given up one earned run or less in 14 starts. He also current has a scoreless streak of 35.2 innings. He has been as dominant as can be. No, he doesn’t throw 100 mph, no he does not have a devastating strikeout pitch the way some of the young pitchers in baseball do, but no pitcher has been better than Zack Greinke this season.

The Dodgers have won 12 of Greinke’s 18 starts and scored a combined nine runs in the six losses. If Greinke can keep up the pace he is on then we are witnessing one of the best pitched seasons of all time.

Grade: A+

Brett Anderson:

2015 Stats: 5-5, 18 GS, 108 IP, 3.17 ERA, 77 K, 1.30 WHIP.
Advanced Stats: 3.57 FIP, 116 ERA+, 6.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 2.0 WAR.

The Dodgers signed Anderson to a one-year deal in the offseason with the expectations that he would be the team’s fifth starter. When McCarthy and Ryu went down Anderson’s role on the team grew tremendously, and the 27-year-old has stepped up to the task. The most important stat for Anderson is the 18 games started. He has not missed a start this season, something he hasn’t been able to say in his seven year career due to a multitude of injuries.

Anderson has taken the ball every fifth day and given the Dodgers a quality outing. His low strikeout numbers are not alarming, as that is not his game. He leads the National League with 226 ground ball outs. He has definitely benefitted from the Dodgers improved defense this season, as he would not have had the success he is having with the 2014 defense behind him.

Overall Anderson has been solid for the Dodgers this season. His biggest key going into the second half is to remain healthy, something he has not been able to do in his career.

Grade: B+

Overall the Dodgers rotation, despite all the injuries, has been better than expected. The Dodgers team starting ERA is 3.19 which ranks fourth in all of baseball. They rank fourth in strikeouts and sixth in walks. If they are able to acquire a top-of-the-line starter like Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzija, then we could be looking at the best rotation in baseball for the rest of the 2015 season.


Written by Staff Writer


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