‘Ah! ‘A long time ago.’
There are constant criticisms that the LA Dodgers’ failure in the first postseason for two years in a row was due to a weakened starting rotation.
The Dodgers won 100 games this regular season, won the National League (NL) West division championship, and advanced directly to the division series. However, they entered the postseason in 3rd place in the wild card (WC), and were literally ‘devastated’ as they suffered 3 losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, the Central Division champions, with 2 wins in the WC series.
Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw had only one out in the first inning and gave up six runs on six hits and one walk. Game 2 starter Bobby Miller retired after giving up 4 hits and 2 walks and allowing 3 runs in 1⅔ innings. Game 3 starter Lance Lynn hit four solo home runs in the third inning alone.
Kershaw took two months off last summer due to a shoulder injury. Miller, who confidently took over the starting position in his debut last May, was burdened with his first postseason appearance in his career. From the beginning, Lin was an underachieving starter that made it difficult to place high expectations on in fall baseball. In fact, it was difficult to compete against the Arizona rotation armed with Jack Gallen and Meryl Kelly, who are regarded as healthy and stable one-two punches.
In relation to this, the LA Times (LAT) pointed out this point through the ‘Lack of Starting Players’ section in an article titled ‘The Collapse of a Dynasty: Examining the October Issue of the Dodgers’ Failure in the World Series Again’ on the 22nd (Korean time).굿모닝토토 주소
Reporter Jack Harris, who wrote the article, said, ‘The starting rotation is not the only reason the Dodgers failed to win another World Series, but it is a part that stands out when analyzed closely when looking back on the postseason over the past three years.’
A scout for a rival team told LAT, “The biggest problem was the mound. It was quite surprising to see what was happening with the Dodgers’ pitching staff.” It can be said that this scout’s point was clearly exposed in this postseason.
This year’s Dodgers rotation was like passengers on a roller coaster. There is not a single pitcher who has maintained a full-time rotation, that is, exceeded the required number of innings. Kershaw spent nearly two months in rehabilitation due to a shoulder injury. Julio Urias, who had been selected as the starting pitcher for the opening game, was in trouble at the start of the season, but was placed on administrative leave on suspicion of domestic violence and moved to ‘out of action’. Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin suffered Tommy John surgery and had their seasons ended early. Walker Buehler, who underwent the same surgery in September of last year, focused on rehabilitation this year. Noah Syndergaard, brought in last winter, and Lin, acquired through a trade in the second half of the season, had clear limitations.
Because of this situation, there was no choice but to bring up a large number of rookie pitchers, including Miller, Michael Grove, and Emmett Sheehan. There are 17 pitchers on the starting mound for the Dodgers this year, and Miller is the only one saved. Reporter Harris said, ‘Over the past three seasons, the Dodgers haven’t had that bad of a pitching staff. It ranked first overall in team ERA for consecutive years in 2021 and 2022. “We slipped to 13th place this season, but were in 2nd place in the second half of the season,” he said, pointing out, “However, starting pitchers were repeatedly wasted to no avail.”
Reporter Harris then wrote, ‘The Dodgers once built a strong starting lineup with frontline starters such as Buehler, Kershaw, and Ryu Hyun-jin, as well as reliable veterans such as Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, and Alex Wood.’
It is true that from 2013 to 2019, when Ryu Hyun-jin was with the Dodgers, the Dodgers built the strongest starting rotation. In 2013, 2017, and 2019, he was first in starting ERA in both leagues combined, and in 2018, he was first in the NL. Ryu Hyun-jin ranked second in the NL Cy Young Award voting with 14 wins, 5 losses, and an average ERA of 2.32 in 2019 as the opening day starter. He would have become the first Asian Cy Young Award winner if not for two 7-run performances in the second half. He posted a career ERA of 2.98 with the Dodgers.
Even in the 2020-2022 shortened season after Ryu Hyun-jin left, the Dodgers did not miss the top spot in team ERA. The starting lineup fell to 20th place out of 30 teams this season.
The Dodgers have only one task this offseason. Rebuilding the starting lineup. There are many starters worth targeting, including Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery, Lucas Giolito and Japanese professional baseball’s best ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. There is no law preventing Ryu Hyun-jin from being included here.