Like everyone else, the delay in starting the baseball season is such a bummer. It has been tough for me to become inspired to write about baseball as life outside of baseball has been impacting me greatly. As I consider that the baseball season might only be 100 games (if we are lucky?) there is no better pitching staff than the Dodgers to benefit from a shorter schedule. Let’s take a look at why.
The Innings Limit Is Gone
One concern the Dodgers had for the 2020 season was making sure that the younger pitchers would still have limited innings. Well, those innings limits have already been imposed with the suspension of the season. My best guess was that Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urías and Dustin May would be limited to 150 innings in 2020. So, they would still be limited to 150 innings but they wouldn’t need to be held back. There will be no need to be forced to limit them artificially. If they are ready to be in the rotation then there is no artificial bullpen demotions or fake injuries to limit them.
A Lighter Load For Buehler, Kershaw and Price
Walker Buehler threw a career high of 193 innings in 2019 that included the playoffs. One of my worries going into 2020 was that Buehler might have some struggles due to the previous workload. Now, that is not a concern.
Both Clayton Kershaw and David Price have a lot of innings on them. Both also have plenty of extra innings due to pitching deep into the playoffs on many occasions. Now, they get a forced rest. Instead of getting ready for seven months of baseball, it will probably be closer to five months.
Could Wood and Stripling Regain Some Past Velocity?
In 2017 Alex Wood had amazing first half of the season as he made the All-Star team. He was regularly sitting 92-93 MPH during that time before he slowed down soon after the All-Star game. The last part of the season saw Wood fall down to being the 4th starter in the playoff rotation.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 26, 2018
Ross Stripling followed a similar path in 2018 as he helped carry the starting rotation through many injuries. He was also sitting at around 92-93 MPH and made the All-Star team. By the time of the All-Star game he seemed to be slowing down already. He was on a path to easily set a career high in innings by quite a bit but things soon fell apart. There was a weird injury he received by sleeping on a bad bed in Colorado. Mainly though, he described it himself when he said he was “gassed”. He ended the season by not even making the post-season roster.
With a shortened season and some more extra rest due to the delay could we see the best of Alex Wood and Ross Stripling? With the depth that can help conserve them and their past successes, why not?
Walker Bueher, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May! That is eight starters without any real limits over a 100 game season and the playoffs. Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana, Scott Alexander, Adam Kolarek and Jimmy Nelson! That is a loaded bullpen when you consider Stripling and Gonsolin could also be factors. The suspension gives both Nelson and May a chance to round into shape without rushing.
By my count the Dodgers have 18 major league pitchers with only 13 spots. The depth they gathered was for a 162 game season but it will now be a lot less. As a season goes on, not everything works out but it looks like the Dodgers are more than capable of handling some disappointments without blinking an eye.
I’d much rather be writing about the strength of the pitching staff over a 162 game season but that is no longer the reality. Orel Hershiser thinks the overall team is in great shape to adjust to the new season. So, the hand dealt us all for the baseball season isn’t what we want, but the Dodgers winning a World Series would still be wonderful. I was 17 when the Dodgers won the strike-shortened 1981 World Series and it was still awesome. Let’s hope the season is started in 2020 and that the Dodgers can use their built in advantages to bring home the championship. I, for one, will welcome going to my first World Series parade.