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Dodgers: Who Should Be the Fourth Starter In the Playoffs?

The Dodgers will have a tough choice to make on who the fourth-starter should be in the playoffs.

Dodgers
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 18: Kenta Maeda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on in the first inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 18, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 4-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said yesterday that it’s not feasible for Rich Hill to return from injury in time to become a starting pitcher in the playoffs.

Breaking Down the Options

Hill being all but ruled out for a starting role means that the Dodgers would need a fourth-starter. But the million dollar question is: who should the fourth-starter be?

Let’s take a look at the numbers from the guys listed in the Tweet:

Games W/L IP ERA H SO
Julio Urias 26 4-3 64.2 2.64 50 66
Kenta Maeda 24 8-8 122.1 4.12 94 128
Tony Gonsolin 3 1-1 14 3.21 11 13
Dustin May 2 0-1 11.1 3.18 14 10

Julio Urias

Julio Urias pitched last season in the postseason and did well, but he pitched in a relief role. He’s picked up 6 starts here in 2019, and is primed to be in the rotation by 2020, but his value to this team come October may lay best at the back end of the bullpen.

Kenta Maeda

Maeda is the most experienced starter out of this group, but he often struggles on the road, and he’s inconsistent at home. Moreover, most of his postseason work has been as a reliever (20 postseason games, 3 starts). He picked up 3 October starts in 2016 and allowed 8 runs in 10.2 innings pitched. While he has the experience, he is primed to perform best as a relief pitcher.

Tony Gonsolin

After a rocky debut, Gonsolin has come on strong his past two outings as both a relief pitcher in Colorado, and a starting pitcher against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. His first two seasons in the minor leagues with the Dodgers were exclusively in relief, so he has enough experience. But his wipeout arsenal may play best out of the bullpen in fireman role.

Dustin May

Dustin May pitched well in his two starts at the majors, with Dodger defense somewhat costing him in his first start. The front office will have their eyes keenly fixed on him over his next few outing as they give him the leash he needs to prove whether he’s ready for the spotlight of the postseason rotation.

Final Thoughts

Maeda and Urias have both experienced pitching in the postseason, May and Gonsolin have not. However, that doesn’t mean one of those two players should not be a starter. May has pitched impressively through 5 innings in each of his starts. The Dodgers could use May for 5 innings, Maeda for 2 innings, Urias for 1 inning, and Gonsolin for 1 inning if May is chosen as the starter.

Urias tends to do well when pitching for 1 inning, and Maeda, as mentioned earlier, does much better as a relief pitcher, as he proved last year in the postseason. As of right now, they should have a piggy-back combination, unless May or Gonsolin can prove to be a reliable option for 6-7 innings.

Essentially, Los Angeles is experiencing a “good problem to have” situation.

Written by Levon Satamian

My name is Levon Satamian. I am currently attending Cal State Northridge, and majoring in Broadcast Journalism.

8 Comments

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  1. John – Yreka
    Maeda relieves period.

    Now that Hill’s not an option I really think that they should try and build up Gonsolin and May and Urias as starters. Go 6 starters for now to save bullets if that doesn’t mess up certain guys routine and Send Yimi, Chargois and others not needed in the weeks ahead back to triple A. No way should May, Gonsolin, Sadler be in Triple A. Here to stay.
    Nobody’s gonna go likely past 7 innings in the playoffs. Easier to put guys in pen for short work or long innings if they end up not as starters. My concern is we don’t start building innings more for Urias. Urias is my first choice for a #4 starter. Maybe Hill is the lefty relief guy. Necessity seems to demand it if he’s on. In my opinion Hill’s situation changes Urias status. Either He or Gonsolin is gonna do relief.

    Ryu, Buehler, Kershaw, Urias. If Hill and Strippling can pitch they can do a few innings if someone falters. May is a backup too in Pen

    Short Relief- Baez, Kelly, Jansen, Kolarek? Sadler? Floro? Maeda, Gonsolin

  2. of the four, gonsolin has the best stuff. his last outing was as good as verlander. build on that with a short leash and see if this diamond in the rough is the real deal.

  3. Urias should be the 4th starter. He was lights out before Roberts moved him to the pen. He needs to be in the rotation now to get back in starter form. Why wait till 2020 to insert him. Win now. Put the velvet gloves in the trash for God’s sake.

  4. We can all understand wanting to keep Urias in the bullpen as they need left handed pitching in there. He has the most experience and potential to start also. Gonsolin and May will be tested also. Reading comments from the Dodger Front Office and Roberts May sounds like he will have the first chance to secure a spot. His 98mph pitches that break down are devastating and Honeycut had him throw some high strikes to change the eye level and be more effective. If he can get ahead of the count and continue to throw pitches up for a strike to mix with his low pitches he will be almost un-hittable. Gonsolin is also a very good candidate. Those two may make the roster next year.

  5. Kershaw – Ryu – Buehler – DUSTIN MAY. And, if needed for some reason, Urias backs up May. I like it!!!!! Go Blue!!!!

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