Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hernández: Pitching nonetheless figures to be an issue for the Dodgers

In concept, the Dodgers performed their most essential regular-season sport of the 12 months Wednesday.

They usually began a reliever.

The charitable interpretation of this determination is that the Dodgers merely embraced a chance to experiment.

The extra disconcerting rationalization of why Brusdar Graterol opened the series finale against the San Diego Padres is that they know they must compensate for the dearth of a championship rotation.

By which case, they may very well be on their option to crashing and burning in October.

Once more.

The weather for one more postseason meltdown are in place, from the variety of all-or-nothing sort hitters of their lineup to the continued decline of nearer Kenley Jansen.

This season feels just like the final … and the one earlier than that … and the one earlier than that … and, properly, you get the thought.

With a 7-5 victory over the Padres at Petco Park, the Dodgers turned the primary workforce to safe a playoff berth. By taking two of three video games from the second-place Padres this week, the Dodgers moved nearer to their eighth consecutive Nationwide League West title.

Besides none of that is new. That is what they’re constructed to do, to attain runs in bunches and dominate the common season.

“It’s step one,” supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned.

The step after this one is the true goal — and the place they often stumble.

That may very well be why the Dodgers didn’t have a locker room celebration of any form.

Reaching the postseason was a given, as each workforce within the NL West outdoors of the Dodgers and Padres has a sub-.500 document.

The order by which the Dodgers and Padres completed was additionally of minimal significance, as Main League Baseball created a playoff format that was the baseball equal of Frankenstein’s monster. Within the first spherical, the Dodgers will host a mediocre opponent in a three-game sequence. As the highest wild-card workforce, the Padres will too.

If each groups advance, there will likely be no home-field benefit, as they may face one another in a five-game Division Collection in Arlington, Texas.

With the stakes comparatively low Wednesday, the Dodgers and Padres opted for bullpen video games.

The Dodgers’ initially scheduled starter, Dustin Might, pitched in reduction. The Padres’, Chris Paddack, had his flip within the rotation pushed again two days.

Within the Dodgers’ view, this was about greater than easing Might again into motion after his foot was struck by a comebacker in his final begin. This was additionally a trial run of types for the postseason.

Of that characterization, Roberts mentioned, “I believe that’s honest.”

However why was that needed?

As long as Walker Buehler can handle the blister on his pitching hand, the Dodgers have 5 serviceable beginning pitchers. Depth will likely be particularly essential in these playoffs, because the schedule doesn’t embody any days off in any of the three rounds main as much as the World Collection.

Common-season depth shouldn’t be confused with postseason depth, nonetheless. Simply because a workforce is snug sending a pitcher to the mound each 5 days within the common season doesn’t imply they’re snug beginning him within the playoffs. That very properly may very well be the case with Might, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias.

And whereas Kershaw is acting at an elite degree once more, Buehler isn’t any assure, because the right-hander has pitched solely 7 2/three innings during the last three ½ weeks.

The pitching issues lengthen to the bullpen. Contemplating how Jansen has seemed in current weeks, there must be respectable worries about whether or not he’s able to closing for them in October.

The potential drawback was compounded Wednesday by information that left-hander Caleb Ferguson has a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will miss the rest of the season.

Offensively, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson are already in October type, which implies they’re slumping. Bellinger and Muncy drove in a run every Wednesday; Pederson was positioned on the household medical emergency record.

Requested if the Dodgers may win a World Collection with out at the very least two of the three left-handed energy hitters discovering their strokes, Roberts was frank.

“No,” Roberts mentioned, “I don’t.”

Now, it’s attainable Kershaw lastly has the October for which he has labored his total profession. And it’s additionally attainable Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner maintain the Dodgers by the ups and downs of their much less constant performers.

Nevertheless it’s equally conceivable, if no more, that the offense vanishes, the shortcomings of the rotation are uncovered and the bullpen unravels spectacularly.

It’s occurred earlier than and it will probably occur once more.



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