The Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff was projected to be one of the best in the Majors heading into the 2015 season, but due to a few injuries, they have not been the unit they were expected to be.
Just a few weeks into the season, they learned that Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu would both be out for the entire season, leaving two question marks for starters at the back end. Right-handers Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger filled in admirably, with Bolsinger having more success. Frias went on the disabled list and has been out, leaving the Dodgers without a fifth starter.
The Dodgers acquired two starting pitchers at the trade deadline to take over the fourth and fifth spots, pushing Bolsinger to the minors. Alex Wood and Mat Latos have each made two starts with the Dodgers, and both have had their struggles especially in their last start.
Over the last turn of the rotation, Dodger starters have failed to go past six innings, taxing the bullpen and the bullpen in turn has been bad. Manager Don Mattingly isn’t as concerned with the relievers as he is with getting the starters to help out his bullpen.
Mattingly said that the starting pitching can essentially get the bullpen going. “Getting good starting pitching, good defense and getting further back into the bullpen and having [the relievers] get five or six outs instead of nine outs,” Mattingly said.
According to Mattingly, this bullpen problem stems from times when the starters break down. “You hit spots where you don’t [go long], and you tax guys out in the bullpen,” the Dodger skipper remarked. Since the All-Star break, Dodgers starters have thrown 131.2 innings in 22 games for an average of 5.96 innings per game.
The bullpen has accounted for the other 60.2 innings in games since the break and have allowed 47 runs. They have also allowed 14 home runs, just seven less than the total they gave up in the first half.
Although the offense has been quite successful as of late, the pitching staff has not done their job of keeping the Dodgers in the game. The team has gone through periods of offensive success and pitching struggles and vice versa. Hopefully they both can have success at the same time as the end of the season approaches.