Sunday, March 10, 2013

The battle for the fifth starter

While plenty of Dodgers contribute to their team's success in the World Baseball Classic, back in Arizona, the Dodgers are still trying to figure out who will round out the starting rotation.  Assuming that Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley, and Josh Beckett are the first four, let's take a look at the men in contention for the last slot.

Hyun-Jin Ryu
3 games (2 starts), 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP

I still contend that the Dodgers didn't sign Ryu just have him pitch out of the bullpen, but let's assume that nothing is etched in stone.  As you can see, it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for him, as evidenced by his high ERA and WHIP.  What's definitely encouraging are his low walks and high strikeouts, a sign that the control is there.  You have to cut him some slack to get adjusted to US hitters, so I think he'll be fine and get a rotation spot.

Chris Capuano
2 games (1 start), 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 10.80 ERA, 1.60 WHIP

These numbers come with a giant asterisk, as he went four innings against the Reds on Friday before rain washed out all the numbers.  In that start, he gave up only one run on two hits, striking out three.  Add it all up, his ERA should be 7.00, which isn't great, but a heck of a lot better than 10.80.  He showed the Dodgers' brass last season how effective he can be at the start of the season with a fresh arm, so he still has a great chance of cracking the rotation.  If his fragile arm can handle it, perhaps he'd be used out the bullpen as insurance against an injury to start the season as well.

Aaron Harang
2 games (2 starts), 5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 10.80 ERA, 2.80 WHIP

There's really no other way of saying this, but Harang has stunk so far.  Yes, it's only two starts, but he's really put himself in a hole with numbers like that.  Here's another eye-popping stat: teams are hitting .440 against him.  Yikes!  At this point he sure looks like the odd man out, as reports surfaced that the Orioles and Brewers scouted him recently.  I'd be surprised if he sticks around the Dodgers much longer, but as they well know, injuries can strike at any time, so maybe they'll keep him around a little while longer just in case.

Ted Lilly
1 game (no starts), 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4.50 ERA, 0.50 WHIP

It's hard to really evaluate Lilly at this point, as his first official start was scratched earlier in the week because of the flu.  He's practically the forgotten man at this point, as he missed nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury, and would appear to have to do something special to get that fifth slot.  I don't like his chances at all, but because of his solid track record starting, maybe he can impress the rest of March.

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