The Dodgers have been a team under a watchful eye for a couple of years now. They’re a team that over the last few years have changed owners, GMs, and players. Last season the bullpen had come under scrutiny and the starting pitching was let down by them all of the 2014 regular season. This caused the Dodgers to do a major overhaul on the bullpen this last offseason.
Turn to the 2015 season and it seems the team has flipped over. Now I know three weeks into the season that you can’t take stats too seriously but certain things do have to be a concern. It seems that roles have been reversed and things you wouldn’t expect of the team have come to fruition. This early in the season it has been the bullpen and hitting that have led the Dodgers into first place and not the starting pitching, which has served the team well in the past.
In fact if you look at the Dodgers’ starting pitching there are two surprising stats that stand out above all others. The first is that every Dodger’s starter, with the exception of Zack Greinke, has an ERA over 4.00. The second is that, combined, Dodgers starters have a MLB worst HR/FB ratio of 19.4%. The reason the HR/FB ratio is so surprising is that of all of the games the Dodgers have played so far have been in PETCO Park, AT&T Park, Chase Field, and of course Dodger Stadium. None of which are known as home run friendly ballparks to say the least.
The bullpen this season has turned a page and instead of letting the starting pitching down, they have actually picked them up. While they may have struggled in the three game series against the Giants, the Dodgers bullpen has been steady for the most part. In fact they lead MLB with a combined WAR of 1.3 and a combined K/9 of 11.42. Yimi Garcia has been amazing, striking out 16 batters to lead the NL in strikeouts for a reliever.
On the other side of the field, the hitting has been spectacular, leading the entire league with 5.0 WAR, .356 wOBA, and 134 wRC+. Add a second-best 6.4 defensive rating and you have a team poised to run the NL into the ground. If the starting pitching that can match the rest of the team’s production, you could have a Dodgers team ready to give the 1998 Yankees a run for their money.
(Stats courtesy of Fangraphs.com)Next post: BttP Podcast: Ep 18 – Alec Denton & Stephen Shaw
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