Sitting at 84-53 with 25 games remaining in the regular season in a stretch of 26 days, the Dodgers have just two off days remaining in the regular season. That would be Sept. 14 between a trip from Los Angeles to Seattle and Sept. 25 when they go from Los Angeles to Denver as this final East Coast trip does not have a day off at the end with the Dodgers playing Sunday morning in Washington D.C. and Monday night in Los Angeles.
With the first day of that final series in Colorado being a doubleheader, the regular season concludes with seven games in six days on the road. The point of looking ahead to the rest of the schedule, coupled with Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers claiming he won’t take time off down the stretch, is realizing just how important the inning totals for a few of the younger pitchers will be over the next four weeks.
Given that Bobby Miller will be an absolute necessity in the postseason while Ryan Pepiot, Emmet Sheehan and Gavin Stone may all factor in for the final month of the regular season now, here’s a look at the inning totals of all the Dodgers’ younger pitchers and how it compares to their previous career highs.
|Pitcher||2023 MLB IP||2023 AAA IP||2023 AA IP||2023 Total||Previous High|
|Bobby Miller||94 2/3||14 1/3||0||109||112 1/3 (2022)|
|Emmet Sheehan||42 1/3||9 2/3||53 1/3||105 1/3||92 1/3 (2021)|
|Gavin Stone||18||100 2/3||0||118 2/3||121 2/3 (2022)|
|Ryan Pepiot||14||22 2/3||0||36 2/3||127 2/3 (2022)|
|Michael Grove||64||10||0||74||105 1/3 (2022)|
Miller’s late start to the season has helped keep his innings down for the season despite the fact that he is now fourth on the major league roster behind Tony Gonsolin, Kershaw and Julio Urias. Given that one of those players is having Tommy John surgery, one is pitching through pain like the one who is having Tommy John did and the third will never pitch for the Dodgers again… well you get the point.
Grove and Stone have not pitched effectively enough to really be relied upon in the postseason, but might factor in as the season goes on to eat up some innings in support of the others. As you can see, Sheehan has already surpassed his career high in inning which is actually a total of his final college season and his first professional season. Pepiot’s injury limiting his innings this season and his success so far, with just two runs allowed in 14 innings while striking out 14, sure seems like this final month will be an audition of sorts.
I’ve referenced it multiple times now, but I truly can’t believe when I wrote the breakdown of the Dodgers’ need for starting pitching depth in February, the five original starters would manage a combined 441 innings and have just one left standing this season. Only Dustin May, the one who went down in May, surpassed his highest inning total from the previous five full major league seasons. While we assumed Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard would struggle to do that, it’s still a bit shocking overall.
As a result, 15 different pitchers have started games in 2023 with 11 of those being true starting pitchers. That number might increase over the final month as Ryan Yarbrough has actually not started a game for the Dodgers in his seven appearances (22 1/3 innings) while Walker Buehler is in the middle of a rehab assignment and it feels almost inevitable he will be back on the roster for October now.
As it stands, Kershaw is tied for the team lead in starts at 21 with Miller’s 17 second among the remaining active pitchers. Even if you assume he starts once every five games for the rest of the season, that will be five more starts this season for a total of 26. The last time the Dodgers’ high for starts by a pitcher was that low in a full season? Well I went back to 2000 and couldn’t even match the total as the numbers just increased. In the interest of not making that table even longer, I honestly just gave up. And with Miller likely to finish second on the team with 21 or 22 starts, the last time the second-highest start total was nearly that low was 2001 when Eric Gagne started 24 games.
|Zack Greinke/Dan Haren||2014||32|
|Clayton Kershaw/Chris Capuano||2012||33|
|Clayton Kershaw/Ted Lilly||2011||33|
|Chan Ho Park||2001||35|
|Chan Ho Park||2000||34|
As it stands now, Kershaw, Miller and Lance Lynn are probably going to start playoff games with some combination of Buehler, Pepiot, Sheehan and Yarbrough likely combining together for a fourth spot if they aren’t needed to piggy back off the others.
Thankfully a strong August for the pitching staff and the offense’s equally historic, albeit positively, season have provided a 14-game lead in the National League West and a 7.5-game lead for the bye in the Wild Card round of the National League Playoffs. The buffer over the D-backs, Giants and Brewers in those two races affords them some time to sort it all out, but obviously the questions need some answers before October.
|3B||Muncy (L)||CF||Chisholm (L)|
|LF||Peralta (L)||LF||De La Cruz|
|RF||Heyward (L)||RF||Sanchez (L)|
|CF||Outman (L)||2B||Edwards (S)|
|DH||Wong (L)||SS||Wendle (L)|
|P||Lynn (R)||P||Chargois (R)|
Michael Busch has now been surpassed in the Dodgers’ designated hitter depth chart by Kolten Wong. Never imagined I’d write that sentence this season. This is a few days after True Blue LA wrote the following:
Since his call-up, Busch has had three hits, including two homers, in 24 at bats. Roberts attributes the dip in productivity to the fact that Busch hasn’t been playing every day, something he’s used to in the minors.
Busch hasn’t played since Sept. 1 when he entered the game for Max Muncy at third base in the 8th inning. He started at DH the day before that and hit one of his two home runs in the 7th as the Dodgers tried to rally back from an 8-4 deficit to the Braves. Given that J.D. Martinez is due back this weekend after playing a few games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, Busch is just about to head back to the minors at this point anyway. And honestly that may be the last we see of him in a Los Angeles jersey pending a major injury on the major league roster.
Otherwise, the Dodgers’ lineup is what you would expect as they anticipate a right-handed pitcher coming in for the bulk of Miami’s innings on the mound.
Who is actually going to pitch the majority of the game for Miami is a bit confusing. Old friend JT Chargois is going to open the game and Bryan Hoeing last pitched just one inning on Sept. 1. Hoeing has thrown some bulk outings, with 2 innings on Aug. 16, 4 2/3 on Aug. 21 and 4 on Aug. 27, and started four games between June 19 and July 5. However, the Marlins also apparently have Edward Cabrera back in the majors after he was optioned in early August after walking six batters in 3 innings against the Phillies. That was just a small example of his 15.4 BB% across 77 innings and 17 starts in 2023.
Just for reference, the Dodgers are second to only the Padres (10.6%) with a 10.5 BB% in 2023.
Since I don’t know exactly who it is, here’s a chart comparing Lynn to Cabrera and Hoeing in 2023 because that makes the most sense to me.
Finally, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA sorted out their bullshit to place Urias on leave. Unlike the most recent situation the Dodgers put themselves in, it does not appear there needs to be a 7-day extension of the leave over and over in order to keep him off the active roster.
Julio Urias has been placed on administrative leave “until further notice” while MLB investigates. Agreed to by MLBPA— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 6, 2023
With Urias gone for the remainder of the season and ideally forever, Pepiot is back with the Dodgers in Miami. That news came before Urias was officially placed on leave, but is clearly the move for tomorrow’s game.
Dodgers have not named a starter for tomorrow yet, but Ryan Pepiot is here in Miami— Jack Harris (@ByJackHarris) September 6, 2023
He could be recalled early if Julio Urías is placed on administrative leave before tomorrow's game
The Dodgers also took the opportunity to announce this, which I believe they also had to do in 2021 for the same reason.
The Dodgers are replacing the Julio Urías bobblehead promotion for the night of September 21 with a giveaway of select premium bobbleheads to the first 30,000 fans in attendance. For more information visit, https://t.co/36IUWLzvoH.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 6, 2023
Without ranting about it all, that took too long just have Urias placed on administrative leave with pay. This part of this whole situation shouldn’t be complicated. I’m well aware the MLBPA earned the rights in negotiations to achieve this for players, but to me that focuses more on making sure a player continues to receive his pay, service time and not be terminated without due process so they can continue to earn the money remaining on their contract (especially if it extends past the current season).
Needing multiple days to put someone on the list is nonsense, especially when I can’t understand what the player would be losing if their pay and service time are still given as they should be. Of course, the fact that Urias is likely going to be the first repeat offender suspended under the MLB’s domestic abuse policy means they don’t have much of anything in place for this specific type of situation. Additionally, what they do have in place might need to be updated as it has now been eight straight years of at least one player being suspended under the policy as the issue isn’t going away.
More from Dave Roberts:— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 6, 2023
– The Dodgers could expect Joe Kelly and Michael Grove to come off the IL during the next homestand. They’re viewing Grove as a reliever going forward.
– J.D. Martinez is expected to be activated on Friday in DC.
In other roster news, Martinez is likely back this weekend as I mentioned above. The return of Joe Kelly will be welcome news as he’s going to be needed for the postseason and Grove’s return as a reliever will be interesting as that sounds more like a 1 or 2 inning type of thing as opposed to being a long reliever that eats up bulk innings.
First pitch from Miami is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. on SportsNet LA.