The good news is that the Dodgers have put together the best record in baseball without much help from Walker Buehler. The bad news is that they will be without one of their best postseason pitchers after he has surgery on his elbow next week. The goal will be to figure out the issue, and the hope is that Tommy John is not the result of that surgery.
The playoff implications of Buehler’s loss will almost certainly be felt. Across 4 years, he has appeared in 15 postseason games and pitched to a combined 2.94 ERA. That doesn’t even include game 163 of the 2019 season when he dominated the Rockies to win the West.
But even without Buehler, there are options to get them through. But those options are very much based on a number of factors, most importantly health.
At this point, it seems like a forgone conclusion that Urias is going to be the guy in October. he has put together a 13-6 record to go along with a 2.40 ERA and a WHIP well under 1. His playoff career has come almost exclusively as a reliever, but he has 5 October starts under his belt.
Gonsolin has been one of the Dodgers best pitchers in 2022. But that doesnt change the fact that he continues to eclipse his career-high in innings pitched every time he takes the mound. And lately, that has started to show. After a Cy Young worthy start to the season, he has fallen to a 3.40 ERA across his last 7 starts. Not terrible, but you can see the results of a heavy workload.
Anderson is having a career year, and the Dodgers are going to want to ride that for as long as they can. He hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down either, allowing 12 earned runs in 8 starts since July. He may not end up being a top guy in the rotation, but having him start the 4th game of a series could work out very well.
If he’s healthy, Heaney could be a monster for the Dodgers playoff rotation. He has started just 7 games due to a shoulder issue, but those games have been very good. Heaney has allowed 3 earned runs over his last 4 starts since his second return from the IL. He could end up being near the top of the rotation, depending on health.
Another huge question mark is Clayton Kershaw. He missed the postseason in 2021, and the Dodgers are hoping that isn’t the case this year. He’s having the best season of his career since 2017, showing signs that he can still get the strikeouts and prevent runs. His 2.64 ERA and 2.72 FIP are the best since he finished second in Cy Young voting. If he’s ready, they’ll run him out there in the first 2 games of a series.
May truly is the X factor in all of this. He makes his return to the mound this Saturday for the first time since his Tommy John surgery last year. In his 5 starts with the OKC team, he posted a 1.89 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. The next couple of weeks will go a long way in determining where the Dodgers plug him in come October.
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