Dave Roberts ‘Most Pleased’ With Dodgers Pitching Staff
Kiké Hernandez, Adam Kolarek, Max Muncy, Dave Roberts, Corey Seager, Will Smith, pitching change
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 2020 season with back-to-back wins over the San Francisco Giants, only to finish their homestand with consecutive losses to their longtime rival. Beyond talent disparity between the two teams, the 2-2 start was further magnified by the season only being 60 games.

L.A. has since rebounded with three consecutive wins entering play Friday, which includes a sweep of the Houston Astros in an emotionally-charged environment at Minute Maid Park. The Dodgers are tied for the MLB lead with five wins, even with minimal contributions from Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts.

Furthermore, Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood both remain on the injured list, and starting pitching depth was previously cut into when David Price opted out of playing the 2020 season. Having played just over 10% of their 2020 schedule, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pointed to the pitching staff as the team’s highlight.

“We’ve really pitched well. That’s the thing I’m probably most pleased with,” he said after Thursday’s win. “The starting pitching, the ‘pen really has stood out. We prepare every night to win a game, and the preparation never wavers. But I think the pitching has really stood out.”

Outside of Ross Stripling, starting pitchers have struggled to provide length thus far. While it’s put more of a burden on the Dodgers bullpen, it has been staunch.

Entering Friday, the group has logged 35.1 innings with a 1.02 ERA, .138 opponents’ batting average and .386 on-base plus slugging percentage. Collectively, the Dodgers pitching staff ranks third in the Majors with a 2.15 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.

Stripling leading Dodgers rotation

As Walker Buehler and Julio Urias are being built up, and with Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin filling in, Ross Stripling has been an anchor for the Dodgers starting rotation.

Stripling went seven innings in his 2020 debut and followed it with 5.1 frames against the Diamondbacks. Both represent the longest outings by a Dodgers starter this season.

“Kind of a lot of things working against us in this game, including the bullpen covering so many innings in Houston and doing an unbelievable job,” Stripling said after Friday’s start. “Yeah, I wanted to come out, be efficient and at least work into the sixth or seventh again if I could. Give those guys a little bit of a break, since I’m sure probably half of them were down.

“Wanted to at least be able to take the bulk of the game and take some pressure of them. Our lineup did it, too. Scoring runs early, getting us off to a good lead and easing our nerves early. Hopefully our bullpen keeps it rocking because they’re doing great right now.”

Roberts confident Bellinger, Betts will recapture MVP forms

A 60-game season presents less margin for error and the need for more urgency, but Bellinger and Betts being slow to find their swings at the plate isn’t much of a concern for the Dodgers.

“That’s the nice thing about having length to your lineup, where Cody and Mookie haven’t gotten untracked yet, and you can still be up there in the league lead as far as runs scored,” Roberts said.

“We’re still being productive, but certainly getting those two guys going is going to be a lot of fun.”

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