Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Starting Rotation Weaknesses Exposed by Lowly Cubs

As much as we're all happy with the Dodgers place in the standings, some obvious weaknesses have been identified on the roster, and it took the lowly Chicago Cubs to expose that glaring hole in two spots of the starting rotation.  Many of us identified it around the trade deadline.  It  is becoming quite a concern.

The schedule gets even more difficult over the coming two weeks with the next 14 games against the Angels, Brewers and Braves.  It's a rather difficult stretch and Ryu, Greinke and Kershaw can only pitch in nine of those contests.
The Cubs celebrate Friday night's 8-2 win.  The finished this three game set in Los Angeles winning two of three.
So we should revisit the standings around August 17th and see where this team stands because the Giants have a number of games against sub .500 clubs during the same stretch.

By no means am I saying that the Dodgers are in trouble, because I believe they can survive this August schedule and remain in first place, but a trade for a starter that gets through the waiver wire couldn't hurt.  Where is this year's Ricky Nolasco to be had?

After watching the lowly Cubs give the Dodgers a weekend battle that rivaled anything that contending teams would give them, the weaknesses of the #'s 4 and 5 starters were extremely exposed.  These last place Cubs, a team the Dodgers had beaten 9 out of 10 contests coming in, and they came within an eyelash of sweeping the Dodgers this weekend.

Such is life playing teams that are loose and have nothing to lose.  The Cubs were definitely that.  Taking chances and free swinging in spots that you normally wouldn't be if the pennant race stakes were high to them.  It's tough playing these teams at times, and the Dodgers will face a lot of them in September, while take on NL West rivals that are all but eliminated by then, so they best get used to it.

On the bright side today, Paco Rodriguez's performance was a welcome addition to the ball club.  Going 2 innings and retiring everybody.  He had great command and it leaves many of us begging the question why he hasn't been on the 25 man roster earlier when other relievers such as Maholm and Perez were really hurting the team.  Rodriguez still has that deceptive delivery and out making stuff.  Don't look at his Albuquerque stats, those are always misleading, which is why I say it's time to call up Zach Lee or Red Patterson and see what they can do in the rotation.

Dan Haren may be hurt.  I see no evidence to prove it, other than the reduction of his pitch velocity and lack of quality starts.  Haren is pitching on an incentive laden contract that vests if he reaches 180 innings pitched.  That's provides millions of reasons why Haren will continue to pitch hurt.  Unfortunatley for Dan, it's time to sit down and figure out what's wrong.  He hasn't had a decent start in almost two months.  He has been given every ample opportunity to get things right, and it's not happening.
AP Photo
It is complete speculation that Haren is hurt but there's no doubt that Beckett is.  A hip issue keeps him from pitching between starts.  He is in need of surgery, but he hangs on in an effort to give the club innings.  Truth of the matter is that Beckett probably needs to sit too, and for the remainder of the season unfortunately.

So while many were lauding Ned Colletti for not trading the top prospects at the deadline, the downside of that is the starting staff just might not have the horses to make it to the finish line.  There's no Capuano and Fife in the wings to help this team make it through the dog days of summer.   Heck there's not even a Jonathan Sanchez type at Albuquerque this year.   There's no veteran presence that is mediocre to poor  now that Maholm went down with injury, that can serve the team valuably by eating up innings.

Magill and Frias can't do it.  Chris Reed in Chattanooga isn't ready.  Facts are facts.  The organization is lacking in major league ready starting pitching.  Now is the time that the trades of Allen Webster, Rubby DeLaRosa, Ethan Martin and Nathan Eovaldi have hurt.  Trading away young arms can come back to bite hard, and it's happening now.

The Dodgers had chances to win today.  Base running gaffe's in the first inning cost them at least one run, maybe more.  Stranding runners in scoring position is not something that is alien to this team, and the LOBs become magnified when # 4 or 5 of the rotation are pitching.  This is truly a big problem that may come back to haunt this ball club.

The Dodgers run Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw out there the next two days, and that means we might feel pretty good about them for two days, but then come the Haren and Beckett slots.  Until this team figures out how to survive those rotation holes, the pennant race will be a white knuckle ride to the very end.

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