The Dodger Starting Rotation Has Question Marks

Friday, February 19, 2021
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021

While the media has been saying the Los Angeles Dodgers have seven starting pitchers, they have been forgetting Jimmy Nelson. According to manager Dave Roberts, Nelson probably will receive starts in 2021.

Since the Major-League pitchers did not pitch as innings in 2020 as they will be in the 2021 season, no one knows how the pitchers will respond to the extra innings. Injuries to pitchers are usually more serious than to other players. Pitchers are more prone to injuries than any other position players.

Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler have not stopped throwing this past offseason. Entering this upcoming season, Kershaw is 33. While he had an outstanding 2020 season, he made only ten starts during the abbreviated 2020 season. Even in 2020, his lower back flared up multiple times. Throughout the 162-game season, either Kershaw or the Dodgers knows how his back will respond to making anywhere from 25 to 32 starts. President Andrew Friedman knew the Dodgers needed a backup plan for Kershaw, which perhaps led to the signing of Trevor Bauer.

Buehler had a poor abbreviated 2020 season for him. He had blister problems that decreased the number of starts he could make. Before the playoffs, he struggled with his control. Since he has had a Tommy John surgery during his professional career, no one knows if his arm will hold up for 30 starts before the playoffs.

Bauer was an average starter before the abbreviated 2020 season when he won the National League Cy Young award as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. He sometimes was brilliant, and at other times, he was bad. In the shortened 220 season, he, who wants the ball every fifth day, had fewer starts to have a bad game. While Bauer likes to be a workhorse, he might have an injury because he does not have the normal arm strength after not pitching the normal amount of the innings.

After sitting out of the 2020 season, no one knows how David Price will perform in 2021. After a poor 2019 season in Boston when he had a cyst removed from his wrist, Price was questionable for the 2020 season. While Price looked great in pre-season workouts, he might not have sufficient arm strength.

Julio Urìas reported to Camelback Ranch in the best shape during his career, according to Roberts. He will be a member of the Dodger 2021 starting rotation. He has a history of a serious shoulder injury. As a World Series hero, most people expect the 24-year-old left-hander to perform brilliantly every outing. The new pressure might affect his performances. Urìas has not been in a starting rotation for the entire season.

Both Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May have not been in the Major Leagues for a 162-game season. They have much potential to be fantastic Major-League starters but need time to learn to retire hitters quicker than they have had.

Returning from back surgery last July, Nelson might be an integral part of the Dodger pitching staff in 2021. He was a right-handed flame-thrower while in Milwaukee. He might be excellent for the Dodgers, but no one knows.

Despite the media touting the Dodger starting rotation as the best in the decades, the starting rotation is full of question marks. Like other Major-League clubs, the Dodgers do not know what the upcoming season will have in restore in the 2021 season for their pitching staff.

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