Reoccurring injuries sustained to starting pitchers has led to a highly volatile rotation for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. Los Angeles has put all but two regulars from their rotation on the disabled list.
One is Kenta Maeda, who surprisingly has become the Dodgers’ most reliable pitcher up to this point. That historically was reserved for Clayton Kershaw, but he’s on the DL for the second time in his career.
Maeda has impressed in his first season in the Majors, pitching to a 12-7 record, with a 3.42 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 136.2 innings. He’s eased concerns that came with the irregularities found in a physical.
The other starter to avoid the disabled list is Scott Kazmir. While he’s remained healthy, Kazmir is in the midst of an up-and-down first season with the Dodgers.
Still, Kazmir earned acclaim from manager Dave Roberts for his durability in a season where the rotation has largely been a revolving door, via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
“I think Kaz has not hit his stride yet,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think he’s battled some physical things. But the one thing you can say is — he’s posted. In a year when we’ve had instability with players and pitchers, he and Kenta (Maeda) have been very consistent in being able to post. That level of consistency has been huge for us.”
While Kazmir has avoided the DL, he’s also endured a couple scares. In a start against the Washington Nationals in mid-July, it appeared he may have hurt his right leg after jumping in the air to field a comebacker and landing awkwardly.
However, it was merely a leg cramp that Kazmir fought off by drinking pickle juice and spicy mustard. His ability to avoid injury has certainly benefited the club, but Kazmir’s performance over the past few months has left the veteran left-hander frustrated.
He’s averaging less than 5.2 innings per start and has struggled mightily in the first inning. Kazmir allowed two runs on eight hits in five-plus innings Wednesday night.
He surrendered a leadoff home run in the sixth and subsequent singles, which led to Grant Dayton coming out of the bullpen. Kazmir was credited with the win, ending a personal three-game losing skid. On the season he’s now 10-6 with a 4.41 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
Los Angeles signed Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract during the offseason. His deal includes an opt-out clause after the 2016 season.