Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers opened camp in Spring Training with more starting pitchers than they knew what to do with — then the regular season began.
Tony Gonsolin missed two months with right shoulder inflammation, Dustin May needed season-ending Tommy John surgery, Jimmy Nelson and David Price were made into full-time relievers, Trevor Bauer has been placed on administrative leave while he is under investigation for alleged sexual assault, Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 10-day injured list with left forearm inflammation and prospect Josiah Gray has just resumed pitching after missing time due to aright shoulder impingement.
Walker Buehler and Julio Urias have remained healthy and Gonsolin recently returned, but those are the only starting pitchers L.A. has available right now.
The team has relied on bullpen games, which have been largely effective so far to help them tread water. But that was when the Dodgers had four available starting pitchers and it was already not something they could do for the long-term.
“I think on that particular night, to use it I think is a very big advantage as far as preventing runs. I just don’t think it’s sustainable for our club because you have to have a handful of guys that can take down multiple innings,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“And if you don’t have that then the rubber is gonna hit the road at some point and you’re gonna be in a dire situation if a particular game goes sideways.”
There is also more planning to prepare for a bullpen game and more decisions to make once the game starts, which can be a challenge and places more pressure on relievers to perform.
“Fortunately, I have Mark Prior, Danny Lehmann and Josh Bard to really help talk me through it and it’s all about trying to figure out the best lanes for the guys that are available that particular night,” Roberts said.
“And it’s about run prevention and we’ve been very good this year I think when we’ve had bullpen games at preventing runs. You can talk about it as much as you want, but once the game starts you still got to read and react a lot of times.”
As the trade deadline on July 31 approaches, the Dodgers presumably will be active all over the market for starting pitching.
Dodgers likely changing Price’s role
With Kershaw now sidelined as well heading into the All-Star break, Roberts acknowledged there is a likelihood of Price being moved into the starting rotation. The team thus far has remained hesitant on such change because of Price’s ability to pitch multiple times in one week.
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