Just to clarify – yesterday I did not say that Stripling was the Dodger’s Ace… yet! Just that he could be by the end of the season and a lot of that depends upon how he pitches the rest of the way. Unlike Alex Wood who was often hitting 97 MPH early in the season last year, which was totally unsustainable for him, Strip is usually 92-94 MPH with an occasional 95 MPH mixed in. Wood was a power pitcher early last season, since then he has become more of a finesse pitcher, and it was good to see him pitch better last night, even if the Dodgers picked him up with some outstanding defense.
Ross Stripling is not doing anything unsustainable, which leads me to believe he can continue on this same path, not just this season, but in seasons to come. His peripherals are totally in line with his ERA, WHIP and Walk to Strikeout Ratios. By seasons end, the Dodgers will have to decide how to slot him in the playoffs. How he continues to pitch is only part of the equation. The other part of the equation is one Clayton Kershaw. How he comes back will also be a big part of this. Was it his biceps tendinitis that caused his drop in velocity or something else. I suspect we will find out soon enough.
It’s pretty clear that the cream has risen to (almost) the top as the Dodgers are pulling away from the Rockies and Giants and are within striking distance of the D-Bags (1.5 games). The Dodgers are headed to the playoffs again and this year, I believe talk of trading for pitching is silly and unnecessary. Maeda is back in the rotation with Hill due back next week against Chicago. Then there will be Clayton Kershaw’s return and the return of Striker Buehler. Ryu should be back in early July and then Julio Urias is expected in August.
Even if there are injuries… and there will be, the Dodgers rotation is one of the strongest in baseball. The starting staffs ERA is 3.47 which is #5 in all of baseball and a lot of that has been patchwork. It will drop even more as they get healthy. What then happens is that pitchers like Wood, Maeda and Urias will go to the pen, making it much stronger… and we don’t know if Koehler can make a difference. FAZ thinks he can…
Scott Alexander’s stuff is filthy, even when he walks hitters, they can’t score because they can’t hit it. He just needs a “pinch” more control to be dominant! Overall, the pitching is trending the right direction. Caleb Ferguson goes today… and year or two years sooner than expected, but here he is. He has gotten better with each start – let’s hope that continues. This may be his last start and he will either go back down to OKC or work out of the Dodger’s pen. I’m guessing he goes to OKC, but he would be a nice arm out of the pen.
Josh Fields has been outstanding all season and Erik Goeddel has been unscored upon (and lucky) and then there are all the other arms that are on the OKC to LA Shuttle, which runs at least once a day! The depth the Dodgers have stockpiled, while maybe not tops in quality is tops in quantity… and then as the starters return, the others who slide over to the pen, may make it TOPS IN QUALITY.
As good as the hitting has been over the last month, it’s not like anyone is putting up unsustainable monster numbers. Matt Kemp is having a good year, but he could get even better – I don’t see him regressing – he’s all in! It may take another month for the pain to go away, but at some point Justin Turner is going to rake as is Cody Bellinger – you will not keep this kid down all season. If anything, I expect the team to hit even better as the year progresses. However, I still can’t get the idea of Manny Machado out of my mind. I know, that is not FAZ’s M.O., I know! But, maybe it is. Their M.O. is unconventional and that would certainly be unconventional.
Maybe it’s time to “Gut the Farm” – Contrary to what some think, I do not think this is a “waste year.” I think this team has about everything it needs… except one more hitter. They would have been fine with Corey Seager, but he is lost for the duration of the season. Maybe it’s time to get Manny. Roll the dice and plan to sign him long-term. Manny Machado in the #2 or #3 spot of the batting order would make this one of the fiercest lineups in baseball:
- Taylor 2B
- Turner 3B
- Machado SS
- Bellinger 1B
- Kemp LF
- Pederson/Kike CF
- Grandal C
- Puig RF
I am thinking about this because I believe the Nationals are the team to beat in the NL. I believe they will “sell out” to win it. They will trade for JT Realmuto and Brad Hand. The Dodgers pitching is sufficient but they need Manny’s bat.
What Would The Dodgers Trade?
It will take a lot. Start with Alex Verdugo, Mitch White and Keibert Ruiz. I am extremely high on Ruiz, so I would give up Yusniel Diaz and Jeren Kendall in his place, but Baltimore may demand it. Edwin Rios and Andrew Toles would be a part of the deal too. I would do Verdugo, White, Diaz, Kendall, Rios and Toles for Manny – the O’s would have to take Logan Forsythe to balance the $$$ to keep LA under the luxury tax. That’s a lot to pay, but it’s a lot to get as well. Yes, it is not FAZ’s M.O., but to-date, they have been everything but conventional.