The Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff for the National League Division Series had a much different look compared to recent years due to an abundance of injuries and off-the-field matters.
The team carried 13 pitchers on their postseason roster, including rookies Michael Grove, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Emmet Sheehan. All but Pepiot factored into the NLDS, while the other three had lackluster performances that contributed to the Dodgers being swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Miller endured a rough start in Game 2, and Grove and Sheehan took some lumps in their respective relief appearances. The three combined to allow seven runs on nine hits in 7.1 innings of work.
Walker Buehler, who ultimately decided against returning this year, shared his viewpoint of a youthful Diamondbacks roster getting the best of the Dodgers, via the “Just Baseball” show:
“To me, young has that little bit of unpredictability to it. So maybe something on a scouting report, they’re sitting on or do some things that maybe veterans who are super in their ways don’t quite do as much. I think that series against us, we just never got footing. You feel like if we won one of the first two games, it’s probably a different scenario. Hat’s off to them to play us, a team that’s been there and done it a lot, and to sweep us is a big deal. It should give those guys a lot of confidence.”
Buehler further noted one change for the Diamondbacks is their starting pitchers consistently going deep into games and others having more defined roles:
“When you get into a certain series, you’ve got your one and two throwing obviously a higher percentage of those games than they would in the regular season, when your No. 1 starter is going to throw 32 games. But if you play in a five-game series, he might throw two games. I feel like in Arizona, this is the first year they’ve had starting pitching that really consistently gets them deep into games. Kevin Ginkel has been there a long time, kind of up and down, and maybe a guy they have throw two or three innings before. Now he’s having these short bursts, and his stuff over 40 pitches isn’t as good as it is over 15, so these guys have full-on roles, where maybe they haven’t had that in the last few years. It’s an interesting mix of players they have over there, but obviously they’re doing something right.”
Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly threw 5.1 and 6.1 innings in their respective starts against the Dodgers, while Game 3 starter Brandon Pfaadt pitched into the fifth as well.
Clayton Kershaw recorded only one out in his lone NLDS start, Miller failed to get out of the second inning and Lance Lynn was removed in the third.
The Dodgers went into the NLDS with an expectation of taking an unconventional approach with their pitching staff, but not to the point where starters would combine for only 4.2 innings.
Walker Buehler was at peace not returning to Dodgers during 2023 season
Buehler had a goal of returning from a second Tommy John surgery this season but changed course after making one rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
“I checked a lot of the boxes that I wanted to. We talked about September 1st and all that stuff, and in a lot of ways, I got to compete and go out pretty quickly,” Buehler said at the time.
“I’m pretty proud of that, but at the end of the day I kind of wasn’t recovering the way I would need to, to make an impact here and an impact that’s worth any risk of coming back. I talked to everyone involved — my agents, organization, my family — and it’s just kind of the right thing to do.
“Obviously disappointing for me, but we’ve still got a really good team here and I’m excited to watch them the rest of the year.”
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