Reds @ Dodgers May 23, 2016: Even More Baseball, I Guess

7:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
SS  Cozart  LF  Hernandez
 CF  Hamilton  3B  Turner
1B  Votto  1B  Gonzalez
2B  Phillips  2B Kendrick
RF  Bruce  CF  Thompson
 LF  Duvall SS  Seager
3B  Pacheco  RF  Puig
 C  Barnhart C  Ellis
Finnegan (L)
Kershaw (L)

After a grueling series against the Padres, I’m sure most readers are tired of baseball (though, not as tired of baseball as A.J. Ellis‘ knees; Ellis caught all 17 innings yesterday and starts again today). However, the Dodgers return home for a quick three game homestand against the Reds. On paper, this should be a good opportunity for the team to get healthy. The Reds are 28th in position player team WAR. They’re last in pitching team WAR. Their bullpen’s ERA, collectively, is over 6. Then again, the Dodgers were supposed to get healthy against the Padres, too.

Yesterday’s marathon ended up having a fairly significant impact on the Dodgers’ roster. Ross Stripling pitched the final few innings and has pitched well this season, but he can no longer make his scheduled start on Tuesday. As a result, Stripling has been optioned and Mike Bolsinger has been recalled and starts tomorrow night. Bolsinger was optioned recently and was not eligible to be recalled without a corresponding move to the disabled list. However, Chin-hui Tsao, the only Dodger reliever to not pitch yesterday, was moved to the 15 day disabled list with a triceps injury. Luis Avilan was recalled to take Tsao’s place. Since Avilan’s demotion in late April, he has had seven appearances in AAA. In 6-2/3 innings pitched, he has struck out six batters, walked six, and has allowed a 9.45 ERA and a 6.56 FIP. In terms of root causes for the Dodgers’ underwhelming bullpen, Avilan’s sudden implosion has been a fairly quiet but relatively significant factor. It’s very likely that he will be optioned after this series.

However, when Clayton Kershaw pitches, it feels like none of that matters. It has now been more than a year since Kershaw’s last bad start in his early stretch last year, and his last calendar year now looks like this:

10.8 fWAR. An ERA under 1.5. A K/BB ratio over 10. An RA9-WAR over 11. Partially owing to arbitrary endpoints, Kershaw is even ahead of Jake Arrieta in RA9-WAR (determined by runs allowed, not FIP) by 0.1. You can nitpick the use of calendar years to compare to the peaks of certain pitchers, but honestly you shouldn’t bother. You should be spending that energy appreciating Kershaw’s greatness.

On a related note, the entirety of the run shown above has happened since this tweet was sent:

No, no it was not.

About Daniel Brim

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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.