Dodgers @ Rockies Sept. 15, 2014: Roberto Hernandez, Shockingly Important

Dodgers
Rockies
5:40 p.m.
Denver, Co.
2B
Gordon
CF
Blackmon
CF
Puig
SS
Rutledge
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Morneau
RF
Kemp
RF
Cuddyer
SS
Ramirez
LF
Dickerson
LF
Crawford
C
Rosario
3B
Uribe
3B
Ynoa
C
Ellis
2B
Lemahieu
P
Hernandez (R)
P
Bergman (R)

Roberto Hernandez has not been a good pitcher as a Dodger. After allowing a 3.87 ERA and a 4.60 FIP as a Phillie, he has allowed a 4.75 ERA and 4.90 FIP in blue. Yet, in some regards, he’s actually pitching better. His strikeout rate has increased from 14.2% to 16.9%, and his walk rate has decreased dramatically from 10.4% to 7.7%. As a result, his K-BB% has jumped from 3.8% and 9.2%. His xFIP is actually better as a Dodger (9% higher than league average, compared to 23% higher than league average as a Phillie).

So, why are Hernandez’ results worse than before? First is that his ground ball rate, critical to his overall success, has dropped from 52% to 44%. That’s the difference between an elite ground ball generator and one that is slightly below league average. The second is that Hernandez can’t keep the ball in the park; before the trade he allowed a 10% HR/FB ratio compared to 16% after. Some of that is just luck, probably, but it’s also possible that he is doing something to cause the higher ratio to some extent (for example, throwing more hittable pitches to drop the walk rate). For now, we get to worry about a suddenly more home run prone pitcher pitching in Coors Field. Hooray.

Hernandez rebounding is suddenly much more important, because of this:

That… doesn’t sound great. As Eric Stephen noted on twitter,  Ryu missed 24 days due to the same injury earlier this season, and 24 days would line him up for game three of the NLDS. The injury is reportedly similar to what he suffered in Korea, which wasn’t as straightforward as the team reported, so a longer absence is certainly possible. Suddenly, Roberto Hernandez, playoff starter is not unrealistic.

If there’s any good news, it’s that the Rockies’ lineup is one that a pitcher can get well against. The Rockies are returning from a road trip in which they lost every game and scored eight runs.  They have been a better team at home this year, but a lot of those home games featured Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Nolan Arenado. This lineup is certainly something.

Last month, there were rumblings that the Dodgers were moving their AAA team to Oklahoma City. Earlier today, Randy Harrison of the Albuquerque Journal reiterated that it is happening, taking some inventive (if not entertaining) shots at the Dodgers in the process. The Dodgers and Albuquerque have a long history together, so it’s not surprising to see some emotion over the impending departure. We’ll know more on that subject tomorrow.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.