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Dodgers & 200 innings

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Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu has been in Arizona for a few weeks, getting an early start on his 2015 season. He threw his first bullpen session last week, and told reporters in South Korea a month ago his goal for this season is to pitch 200 innings.

He was sidelined briefly in 2013 and pitched 192 innings, but three stints on the shelf in 2014 limited the left-hander to 152 innings in 2014, which explains Ryu's determination to pitch more in 2015.

To get 200 innings from a pitcher is a milestone, but on its own not terribly memorable. The Dodgers have had at least one pitcher pitch 200 innings in every non-strike year dating back to 1945. But the last time the Dodgers had two pitchers get to 200 innings in the same year was 2011. They have only had two pitchers reach 200 innings three times in the last 10 years.

Last year brought a reminder that there are many roadblocks to pitching 200 innings in a season. Even pitching into games deeper than he ever had (7.34 innings per start), Clayton Kershaw in 2014 topped out at 198⅓ innings after reaching 200 innings in each of the previous four years, thanks to a muscle strain in his upper back.

Zack Greinke led the Dodgers with 202⅓ innings in 2014, one year after having a broken collarbone derail his 200 quest. Greinke has reached 200 innings in five of his last seven years, which brings us to Monday morning's thought.

The last time the Dodgers have had three pitchers reach 200 innings in a season was 1996, when Hideo Nomo (228⅓), Ismael Valdes (225) and Pedro Astacio (211⅔) accomplished the feat.

Might the Dodgers do that again in 2015?

With 1995 shortened to a 144-game season thanks to the strike, let's look at every year since 1996, with the number of 200-inning starters and the total innings thrown by the Dodgers' top three starters (defined as the pitchers with the most innings on the team).

Year 200-inning pitchers Total innings, top three pitchers
2014 1 (Greinke) 586⅔ (Greinke, Kershaw, Haren)
2013 1 (Kershaw) 605⅔ (Kershaw, Ryu, Greinke)
2012 1 (Kershaw) 605⅔ (Kershaw, Capuano, Harang)
2011 2 (Kershaw, Kuroda) 628 (Kershaw, Kuroda, Lilly)
2010 1 (Kershaw) 592⅓ (Kershaw, Kuroda, Billingsley)
2009 1 (Wolf) 581⅔ (Wolf, Billingsley, Kershaw)
2008 2 (Lowe, Billingsley) 595 (Lowe, Billingsley, Kuroda)
2007 1 (Penny) 510 (Penny, Lowe, Wolf)
2006 1 (Lowe) 519⅓ (Lowe, Penny, Tomko)
2005 2 (Weaver, Lowe) 621⅓ (Weaver, Lowe, Penny)
2004 1 (Weaver) 588⅓ (Weaver, O.Perez, Ishii)
2003 2 (Nomo, Brown) 614⅔ (Nomo, Brown, O.Perez)
2002 2 (O.Perez, Nomo) 624⅓ (O.Perez, Nomo, Ashby)
2001 1 (Park) 552 (Park, Adams, Gagne)
2000 2 (Brown, Park) 648⅔ (Brown, Park, Dreifort)
1999 2 (Brown, Valdes) 650 (Brown, Valdes, Park)
1998 1 (Park) 574⅔ (Park, Dreifort, Valdes)
1997 1 (Nomo) 596 (Nomo, Valdes, Park)
1996 3 (Nomo, Valdes, Astacio) 665 (Nomo, Valdes, Astacio)

If you're high on Brandon McCarthy and his new shoulder-strengthening regimen, looking for him to reach 200 innings for a second straight year, the last time the Dodgers had four different 200-inning pitchers was 1993, with Orel Hershier (215⅔), Tom Candiotti (213⅔), Ramon Martinez (211⅔) and Kevin Gross (202⅓).

Four pitchers reaching 200 innings would be quite a feat, and seems farfetched for the Dodgers in 2015. Three seems like a long shot too, if only because one of Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu are bound to be sidelined at some point this year, even briefly.