|(Howard Smith/US Presswire)|
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Next Year the Dodgers May Face the Same IP Dilemma as the Nats
Many a baseball fan is intrigued by the story out of Washington D.C. that the Nationals will shut down their young ace, Stephen Strausburg, in the heat of the September pennant race. It seems crazy, but I’m convinced after listening to a quick radio interview of Washington’s G.M. Mike Rizzo, that it’s going to happen. Strausburg’s limit of no more than 180 innings pitched this season is set in stone by the G.M.. As of yesterday, Strausburg has tossed 134 innings this year.
Here’s a wrinkle in the Strauburg story that has a direct Dodgers twist to it. I believe that the Dodgers will face the same predicament with 23 year old Rubby De La Rosa next season. They’ll have to proceed with caution. In fact, probably even more caution than the Nationals. De La Rosa has never thrown more than 110 innings in a season.
Now, one year after his Tommy John Surgery, Rubby he has thrown eight innings in the minors in three outings. The results have been encouraging, but let’s get real here.
Rubby threw 47 innings in 2008, 16 innings in 2009 and a career high 110 innings in 2010. Last year, prior to injury, he tossed 40 innings in Chattanooga and another 60 in the big leagues. At the time I had concerns that the youngster may be injury prone if the Dodgers were not careful. Linked HERE Sure enough, 28 innings later he was removed from the game with traumatic ligament damage requiring the surgery.
When Ned Colletti was asked about the Strausburg situation on Blogger’s night (July 13th) at Dodger Stadium, he said that he wasn’t about to criticize what another organization was doing. “They know their player and they have the medical reports. I’m sure they’ll do what is in the best interest of their organization and their player. A lot of money is invested in these guys and they aren’t about to make a decision without consulting their medical staffs.” He later mentioned that it was a tough decision that he was glad he didn’t have to make.
Come 2013, Colleti and the Dodgers medical staff just may have to make that decision.
if De La Rosa breaks through and makes the Dodger starting staff next year and pitches well throughout the first half, I seriously believe they’ll have to consider shutting him down by August, since it would be detrimental to his health to have him pitch more than 110-120 innings. Anything over 110 innings pitched is uncharted territory for the young man.
De La Rosa is a power pitcher that will throw a lot of pitches due to the nature of his pitching style. That 97 MPH fastball is used to rack up strikeouts. This isn’t a pitcher that will pitch to contact. Innings pitched by De La Rosa are hard core innings of all out performance. Innings that are very taxing physically. It’ll be an important decision and one that I hope the Dodgers make very wisely.
With the Dodgers alone in first place for the first time since July 13th, it is time for the club to really take advantage of a reeling San Francisco Giants team that is demoralized at the moment. It is during these times in a long season that you don't let up. Now into their 7th game of what we thought would be a difficult road trip, the Dodgers are on the verge of sweeping the season series from a very good Pirates team. With a 6-0 record against Pittsburgh, they entire the final game against them this year with Joe Blanton facing Pirate ace A.J. Burnett who is in search of his 15th win on the season.
It'll be a hungry and desperate Pirate team that is slowly seeing it's incredible season slipping away. The Dodgers take an over all 9-game winning streak against the Pirates into their final match of the year. They also own the best Win-Loss record of any team at PNC Park. Joe Blanton seeks his first win as a Dodger before the team finalizes this 10 game road trip against a hot Atlanta Braves club.