We’ve spilled much Internet ink about the Dodgers’ struggles against left-handed pitchers, but we haven’t talked a ton about their abundance of lefties — both in the rotation and the bullpen. That bodes well for them next month.
Alex Wood was just reinstated from the 60-day disabled list. While he was really hitting his stride as a starter before he went down with the elbow injury, he is returning as a reliever. That will definitely help the Dodgers’ bullpen come October.
Here’s who the Dodgers have from the left side come next month:
- Starters: Brett Anderson, Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw
- Relievers: Luis Avilan, Grant Dayton, J.P. Howell, Adam Liberatore, Julio Urias, Wood
OK, we can eliminate a few names here. First, despite being slated to start Thursday, there’s a better chance of me making the playoff roster than Anderson. Same goes for Kazmir. Next, Howell is about the bottom of the depth chart when it comes to left-handed relievers.
So, that leaves Game 1 and 2 starters Kershaw and Hill (duh), and at least two relievers, if not three. The easiest call is including Dayton, as he has elevated himself to the primary lefty out of the bullpen. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. If Wood shows he’s healthy and able to pitch at or near the level he was pitching at before he went down, he’s a lock for the ‘pen.
Then, Dave Roberts would have to decide if he wants a third lefty. Liberatore had a great first half and I wondered if he could keep it up. He hasn’t, but it might be due to the injury more than his overall talent/performance. Avilan has been really good since returning from Triple-A, but it is a limited sample size. Then we have Urias, who is a wild card in all this.
Urias hasn’t pitched since his last start eight days ago. He’s not going to pitch much more this season, and I think the hope is he’ll be available out of the ‘pen for the playoffs. He could be Francisco Rodriguez — or David Price — but those guys are the exception to the rule. There’s no guarantee that he’ll be effective enough to go from starting pitcher to possible LOOGY in the span of a month. He has stated in the past he doesn’t particularly like pitching out of the bullpen, but that’s his immediate future — if he makes the postseason roster.
I’ll do a post on my full postseason roster prediction either later this week or early next week, but the Dodgers have a glut of lefties from which to choose. At this point, I’m expecting the team to carry three lefties in the bullpen for the postseason (or, at least the first round).
You know, if they even make it since I, apparently, jinxed them with yesterday’s article.