Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Calls On Rotation To Provide Consistent Length
Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Calls On Rotation To Provide Consistent Length
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday used their eighth starting pitcher this season, leaving them on pace to surpass last year’s mark of 16 starters used, which led the Majors. The most recent change came with Nick Tepesch filling the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation on Friday.

It was previously occupied by Mike Bolsinger, who won the job in Spring Training, only to suffer an oblique strain. He made a spot start and returned to the rotation but saw the plug pulled after five shaky outings.

In fairness, the Dodgers haven’t received much consistency from their starting rotation beyond Clayton Kershaw. Whereas the past three seasons the club could rely on Kershaw and Zack Greinke, it’s largely been a guessing game beyond the left-handed ace.

Kenta Maeda went through a stretch where he struggled, Scott Kazmir tends to be hot or cold, and Julio Urias is going through expected growing pains as he finds his footing.

After Tepesch, who entered Friday’s game with 39 career Major League starts under his belt, only managed to pitch four innings, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stressed the importance of getting more length from the rotation, according to ESPN’s Doug Padilla:

“We’ve tapped into our depth with the starting staff, I’ll say that,” Roberts said. “We’re all out there trying to compete. Obviously, having to carry an eight-man pen, it’s not ideal. But these guys are giving what they’ve got. We’ve got to get length form our starters consistently, and anything outside of that is not a formula to sustain itself, to sustain winning. I’ll leave it at that.”

Entering Saturday, the Dodgers ranked eighth in the Majors with 438 innings pitched from their starters. Of course, Kershaw is responsible for 115 of those innings; Kazmir is second with 83.2 innings. Roberts’ message falls in line with one delivered in April when he placed the emphasis on starting pitching amid the bullpen’s early struggles.

Dodgers relievers were tied with the New York Mets for the National League lead with a 3.06 ERA. What’s more, the Dodgers’ bullpen ranked first in the NL in opponents’ batting average (.204) and second in the NL and Majors in WHIP (1.07).

Los Angeles designated Tepesch for assignment on Saturday, and recalled Chris Taylor from Triple-A Oklahoma City. That leaves the Dodgers in need of a fifth starter come Wednesday.