As the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense and defense have both suffered lapses, the starting pitching has been one of the few consistent, bright spots.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Dodgers as Clayton Kershaw was placed on the disabled list after making just one start, Josh Beckett began the year on the DL and Hyun-Jin Ryu was also played on the 15-day DL.
As health on the staff improved, Zack Greinke and Kershaw have pitched like the aces they are and Dan Haren got off to a surprising start. Once Beckett was activated, he gave the Dodgers another solid arm at the backend of the rotation.
However, Beckett has since been placed back on the DL with a hip injury and Haren had another rough outing Friday. Despite the issues plaguing his two veteran pitchers, manager Don Mattingly remains confident in his right-handers, according to Zach Helfand of the LA Times:
We’re OK,” he said. “I have confidence in Danny, and I feel like Josh is doing well. So I’m not really, at this point, really concerned.”
While both Beckett and Haren raise some level of concern, it is for different reasons. Beckett has reinvented himself and pitched better than his 6-5 record suggests. His 2.26 ERA ranks fourth in the National League and sixth in MLB.
Keeping Beckett healthy is the primary cause for concern. Prior to landing on the DL, Mattingly mentioned the the 34-year-old regularly battles soreness between each start.
Meanwhile, Haren’s issues may be more troubling. Since opening the season with a 4-0 record, Haren has largely been a disappointment. He’s suffered two consecutive losses and now holds a 4.23 ERA.
Following his shortest outing of the season, Haren said he’s “searching” and was hopeful he’d have better success after the All-Star break.
The Dodgers can likely get by with one of Beckett and Haren pitching well. Given how the season has progressed, their best bet lies with Beckett so long as he’s able to get healthy.
However, if both pitchers continue to struggle in their respective ways, it could be the undoing of the Boys in Blue.
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