That’s how the Dodgers found Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson
Cincinnati – No team loses more impressive starting pitchers than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yet no team consistently makes a good pitch. It’s part of life in blue.
“I was at the Sandy Koufax statue event last week, and when you put on this uniform, they talked about how there’s a lot of pitching legacy with the Dodgers,” manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday before the game against Cincinnati. Red. “And when you have Clayton Kershaw here, I believe the bar is set too high so the expectation is high when you take the mound for us.
Kershaw, who missed a few weeks with a lower back injury, has returned to the Hall of Fame to resume his parade. The arms around him keep changing, but the results are the same. The Dodgers have led the majors in scoring runs at 2.62 as of Wednesday, despite losing a five-man rotation from the start of 2021.
At various points last season, the Dodgers hired Max Scherzer, Trevor Bauer, Walker Buhler, David Price and Dustin May. Those pitchers made 77 starts for the team that set the franchise record with 106 victories. All have gone from rotation.
Scherzer signed with the Mets. Bauer was suspended for two years in April for violating baseball’s domestic-violence policy. Buehler underwent elbow surgery this month and his return is uncertain. The price is moderately palliative. May is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
For the Dodgers, this is just an opportunity for others to shine. Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson combined to go 17-0, helping to keep the team at the top of the National League West in a virtual tie with San Diego. Both starters could become All-Star for the first time next month.
“I think they don’t write anything here,” said Anderson, the left-hander who signed with the Dodgers after six years with four teams – and a 4.62 earned-run average. “Some teams, if you try stuff, they don’t really want to try new things. But they’re not afraid to try new things here – and they know how to remove things that don’t work.
Having signed a one-year contract for $ 8 million, Anderson transformed his best pitch, change. According to FanGraphs, it is now slow at 79.2 miles per hour on eligible NL pitchers, helping him play his usual fastball.
Gonzolin made a concerted effort to throw more strikes this season, but used his splitter more than any other NL starter. Since its heyday in the 1980s, teams have largely discouraged the use of pitches for fear of injury. But Roberts believes Splitter should make a comeback – and Gonzolin could make the show if he launches an All-Star Game at home next month.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Gonzolin, a ninth-round Dodgers draft pick in 2016, “which is big at Dodger Stadium. To be part of that environment, it’s great to get that opportunity if it happens.
Andrew Heaney, who returned from a shoulder injury last weekend, has canceled his changeup, posting a 0.59 ERA with 23 strikeouts and four walks in three starts. Heaney signed for one year and $ 8.5 million after struggling for the Angels and Yankees last season.
“Throw your best pitches more often,” Heaney said. “It means a lot to me.”
Heaney, like Anderson, had a record of mediocrity for multiple teams; In eight seasons, his ERA was 4.72. Yancy Almonte, with his fourth firm, Setup Man, has found success by emphasizing sinkers over four seamers. Another reliever, Evan Phillips, had a 7.26 ERA for the three teams, and a 2.43 mark since the Dodgers announced a waiver last August.
“We still have to compete; it’s not like we came to the Dodgers and they cast some fairy dust on us and all of a sudden we’re ourselves,” Phillips said. And in such a room, when you are surrounded by the Hall of Famers and All-Stars left and right, it tops everyone.
Kershaw, 34, finished last season on the injury list but returned for a year and $ 17 million. He has been with the Dodgers for 15 seasons, his last defeat record (80-82 in 2010) and plenty of time to return to the kind of pitching domination that defined the Koufax prime in the 1960s.
“The Dodgers do a great job of finding out what you’re doing well and using it – a lot,” Kershaw said. “There are some organizations that are pitching really well. We’re one of them. Cleveland is one of them. Tampa Bay is one. I think everyone does it a little bit differently. You see.
This is the sixth consecutive season that the Dodgers have the lowest ERA in the NL since Wednesday at 2.90. Heaney said the team’s broad coaching and coordination between departments in the front-office structure has made it easier to implement.
“It’s open to say that we try differently, and the guys aren’t interested in that,” Heaney said. “There’s a trust that says, ‘Well, if they don’t believe they can unlock it, they’re not going to bring it to me.’
General Manager Brandon Gomes pitched to Tampa Bay in 2014 under Andrew Friedman, who left to run the Dodgers baseball operations division. The raw data hasn’t changed much since they played, but teams have found more ways to apply it.
The old idea that players usually follow their established patterns – they play on the back of their baseball cards, as they say – no longer applies.
“There are different ways of developing players, and not just in the minor leagues,” Gomes said. “There is also development for major league players.”
The Dodgers could add more depth in the second half, with May, Danny Duffy, Tommy Conley and Blake Treinen returning from various injuries. The Dodgers are spending $ 6.725 million this season on Duffy and Conley, and if both do not return, they can afford to gamble. His bets on Heaney – and, especially, Anderson – are already paying off.
Such a portfolio distinguishes the Dodgers. The team has a payroll of about $ 260 million, just below the Mets for the richest in the majors, according to SpotTrack.
“They’re between rough guys and their ability to spend money – at the end of the day, if you spend money, you get good players and good players win games,” Kershaw said. “I don’t think every team is going to do it. You have a good team, you have to be able to do it. If you are not going to spend money, you may have a good or two years. But you have to have good players and good players cost money.
The Dodgers big spend is more important to Kershaw, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Tree Turner and other players. But his success in developing players in the majors may have saved his season.