Dodgers News: Ryan Yarbrough Vows To Improve For Playoffs

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Ryan Yarbrough has provided tremendous value to the Los Angeles Dodgers since being acquired from Kansas City Royals at the August 1 trade deadline, but his final appearance of the 2023 season left plenty to be desired.

Tasked with making a start at Coors Field, the left-hander took on the brunt of damage done by the Colorado Rockies in a Dodgers loss.

With the second seed in the National League locked up, the Dodgers needed to plod their way through a final slate of games. Outcome aside, just maintaining health and completeness of their roster was a priority.

Yarbrough was the unfortunate recipient of being both off his game, while also needing to pitch deep enough to avoid having to use more bullpen arms than necessary. The 31-year-old endured his worst day as a member of the Dodgers and understandably was frustrated, via SportsNetLA:

“Extremely difficult day. Definitely one that’s going to sit with me for a little bit. Maybe just not enough mixing speeds. A lot of hard-hit balls, a lot of hard contact. Not limiting the damage and allowing myself to get out of some jams, especially in that second inning with second and third. You get two outs, and not finishing it off, especially when you get an early lead, and then basically let it fall through your fingers and give it right back to them, always hits hard. It’s definitely something I’ll look back on the outing as a whole and get things figured out. That’s just not me. I take full responsibility. Tough day.”

There wasn’t much to like about Yarbrough’s start against the Rockies, and the root of hard-hit balls was his inability to keep pitches out of the heart of the strike zone. Heading into the outing he’d posted a 3.12 ERA, 3.57 FIP and 1.07 WHIP with the Dodgers.

Yarbrough added the blip on his run of solid pitching won’t be enough to deter him from what has been working and he said improvement would come for the postseason:

“Obviously I’ll talk with Mark (Prior) and Connor (McGuiness) tomorrow and the next couple days. Bad days happen, but this was on a completely different level. Not just a bad day, but kind of getting your teeth kicked in. You don’t want to try to do too much differently, just because I’ve had a lot of success since I’ve come over here, but at the same time you’ve really got to do a hard look and see what’s been going on, what was so different, and kind of make those changes. I’m sure I’ll definitely throw a lot. I don’t know how the schedule will be between now and the postseason, but I’m sure I’ll get a chance to face some hitters and really try to right it then.”

Yarbrough’s final line against the Rockies ended at nine earned runs on 11 hits, including three home runs over four innings pitched. It ballooned his ERA with the Dodgers to 4.89 over 38.2 innings.

Where does Ryan Yarbrough factor onto Dodgers postseason roster?

With the Dodgers having a decent number of starting options including Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Lance Lynn, the roster squeeze will be an important topic heading into the NL Division Series.

Yarbrough likely has a spot on the Dodgers postseason, mainly because of his track record since being traded. He hasn’t always been spectacular, but can be matched up against opponents where his soft-tossing arsenal is useful.

The lefty hasn’t posted a shutout appearance since Augugst 30, but grades out incredibly well in hard-hit rate (top 3% in MLB), and his walk rate is in the top 1%. He won’t be deployed as a traditional reliever, but when the Dodgers need some innings in a plus-position, Yarbrough could be considered as a clear long-relief arm.

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