3. Is it safe to rely on Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy?
Based on pure talent, the Dodgers probably have the best fourth and fifth starters in the NL West, and arguably the National League (should you take up the argument, expect some angry Nationals fans on your Twitter timeline).
In 2011 and 2012, Brandon McCarthy was rock solid (when available) for Oakland. And after a disastrous 18 months in Arizona, started throwing his cutter again for the New York Yankees last year with high end results.
Basically, by any metric McCarthy has (when available and not wearing a Diamondbacks uniform) been a very good pitcher over the last four seasons.* Brett Anderson has a career ERA of 3.93; it was under 3.00 last year in Colorado.
Two years ago in Oakland, (when available) Anderson averaged more than a strikeout per inning. (When available) He has shown the ability to get Major League hitters out at a clip far exceeding your average fifth starter.
Of course, the 200+ inning season McCarthy posted in 2014 was a career first. Anderson also cracks the 200 IP barrier, if you slap together his last four years, and even then, only barely. It’s wishful thinking to believe both of these guys will pick up the ball every fifth day all season long.
Which is fine, because if the Dodgers get about a season’s worth of starts between the two, they’ll likely be in good shape relative to the competition. If that innings figure rises a little higher, the Dodgers will almost certainly have a major competitive advantage.
Should the Dodgers have to improvise in that fifth slot because either Anderson or McCarhty are unavailable, they have resources to cope — Mike Bolsinger, newly signed Dustin McGowan, and Joe Wieland among others, to go along with their cartoonish piles of money.
In a league where many teams scramble to find a reliable third arm for the rotation, worrying about the fifth starter qualifies as a first world problem.
*I would have signed McCarthy just for his Twitter feed, but it can be argued my priorities aren’t the same as the front office’s.
CONTINUE READING: Two More Burning Questions The Dodgers Face