Dodgers Fifth Starters Improved In 2011

The cream of the Double A crop, including Nathan Eovaldi, has risen to the top this year and has contributed to the Dodgers.

In 2010, the Dodgers had quite a void at the bottom of their starting rotation*. Ely Mania was nice for a while, but ended with a thud. John Ely, Carlos Monasterios, Charlie Haeger, Ramon Ortiz, and James McDonald combined for 40 starts, and left a lot to be desired. The sour taste left by fewer than five innings per start averaged by that crew contributed greatly to Ned Colletti's starter spending spree last winter.

*I'm combining Vicente Padilla and Ted Lilly as the singular "fourth starter" since Lilly was acquired on July 31 and Padilla was injured for most of the final two months.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his third major league start Wednesday night against the Brewers, is the latest to fill the fifth starter role this season, a spot that has been mostly split between a pair of pitchers who eventually had season-ending surgery. Jon Garland and Rubby De La Rosa have pitched 19 of the 22 starts by Dodgers fifth starters this season, and the role has produced relatively better in 2011.

Dodgers Fifth Starters
Year Starts QS Record IP/GS HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP WHIP
2010 40 11 17-23 4.72 1.43 4.29 6.58 6.34 5.26 1.648
2011 22 12 8-14 5.74 1.00 4.20 6.98 3.99 4.34 1.401

The fifth starters have averaged an inning more per start than last season, and have better numbers across the board. In 2010, fifth starters were a combined 6-21, while this year the fifth starters are 5-11. However, the Dodgers winning percentage in these games has dropped from .425 to .364. The bullpen was 11-2 in games started by fifth starters last season.

Rib Notes

Zack Greinke has had a bizarre 2011. He fractured a rib playing pickup basketball in spring training, and didn't make his Milwaukee debut until May 4. On the surface, Greinke is having a good year, at 11-4 with a 4.08 ERA. But dig deeper and Greinke's season looks even better. He has career-best rates in both strikeouts (30.1%) and walks (5.5%), and would be leading the majors in xFIP (2.26) if he had nine more innings.

Greinke has seven straight quality starts, and since the All-Star break his ERA is a paltry 1.56. At Miller Park this season, Greinke is 8-0 with nine walks and 85 strikeouts in 64 innings. The Brewers have won all 10 of Greinke's home starts this season.

Lineups

Dodgers   Brewers
LF
Gwynn

RF
Hart
3B
Blake

CF
Morgan
RF
Ethier

LF
Braun
CF
Kemp

1B
Fielder
2B
Miles
3B
McGehee
1B
Loney

SS
Betancourt
C
Navarro

2B
Hairston
SS
Sellers

C
Lucroy
P
Eovaldi

P
Greinke

Notes

  • Since the All-Star break, Dodgers starting pitchers have a 3.01 ERA, are averaging 6.3 innings per start, and have struck out 8.33 batters per nine innings. They have 19 quality starts in 29 games.
  • This series is the sixth four-game series for the Dodgers this season, and the fourth time they have lost at least the first two games of those series.
  • Jamey Carroll has 396 plate appearances this season. With four more PA, he will earn a $75,000 bonus per his contract. Carroll has bonuses for three more plateaus at 400, capping at $125,000 for 550 PA.

Game Time: 5:10 p.m.

TV: KCAL

MLB Gameday

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