The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves just weeks away from the highly anticipated postseason, but uncertainty looms over their pitching rotation. Injuries to key starting pitchers, namely Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Walker Buehler, have left fans and analysts alike pondering who will step up to deliver crucial performances for the NL West champions.
The only dependable presence for the postseason is none other than the legendary Clayton Kershaw. However, this year presents a unique challenge, as Kershaw is far from entering October at peak physical condition. Despite this, Kershaw continues to give his all each time he takes the mound.
The Dodgers’ strategy appears to hinge on Kershaw, hoping to extract five solid innings from the seasoned veteran. However, the team remains poised to swiftly turn to the bullpen if Kershaw’s shoulder issue continues to hamper his performance, leading to a recent drop in velocity.
Introducing the newcomer, rookie sensation Bobby Miller, who has already secured his spot in the starting rotation for this year’s postseason. Miller’s impressive performance has seen him log 107.1 innings with a 4.02 ERA over the course of the season. While his ERA suffered during two challenging months in the middle of the year, the 24-year-old pitcher has consistently delivered dominant outings.
In a recent showcase of his talents, Miller impressively pitched seven innings against the formidable Atlanta Braves, limiting the All-Star lineup to just one run while striking out seven.
As the postseason approaches, the Dodgers face a dilemma regarding certain pitchers on the roster. Midseason acquisition, Lance Lynn, started his Dodgers career on a high note, going 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA. However, Lynn has since been plagued by a propensity for giving up home runs and a decline in his strikeout numbers.
Despite these challenges, Dodgers’ coaching staff remains optimistic that adjustments can be made to revitalize the seasoned veteran’s performance before the October showdown.
“With the pitching, I think sort of by performance (and) by default, it’s becoming pretty clear as well,” Roberts said of the plans for the postseason roster. “But there’s still going to be some tougher conversations that we still have time to evaluate.”
Another exciting prospect is the young pitcher Ryan Pepiot, who made his 2023 debut after recovering from a 60-day injury. Pepiot initially earned a spot in the starting rotation following an impressive Spring Training but suffered an untimely injury just before the regular season.
Since his return, Pepiot has made five appearances, pitching like a man on a mission. Over 27 innings, he boasts a remarkable 2.00 ERA and an outstanding 0.63 WHIP. The young pitcher appears healthy and confident, effectively utilizing his remarkable changeup to baffle MLB-level hitters.
“I think the last few starts there have been some mechanical things that he’s has to clean up that Mark (Prior) identifiedm” Roberts said. “He’s built to get deep into games, that’s how he’s wired. But, I think that having the mindset of ‘going as hard as you can as long as you can’ is what I’m looking for the next two starts for him.”
The Dodgers also have promising rookies like Gavin Stone and Emmet Sheehan in their ranks, displaying flashes of brilliance but still needing to refine their control over the strike zone.
Adding to the mix is the last-minute trade deadline acquisition, Ryan Yarbrough, originally intended for a middle innings role but now potentially slated for a starting position due to the team’s roster limitations.
With the NL West division championship secured and the experienced Dave Roberts at the helm, Dodgers’ fans can place their trust in his ability to construct the ideal lineup, providing the team with the best opportunity to clinch another coveted World Series trophy.
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