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Dodgers starters rested and effective by design

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As the Dodgers continue to set up goals and knock them down in rapid succession, we move on to the rest of this uncharted landscape that is their 2017 season. More specifically, the rest is part of the plan as the Dodgers try to complete a season sweep of the Mets on Sunday night at Citi Field.

Hyun-jin Ryu gets the start in the series finale, his second straight start on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. He was brilliant last weekend against the Giants, striking out seven in his seven scoreless frames.

Ryu since returning from the disabled list has allowed two runs in 12 innings, and has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last five starts, posting a 2.60 ERA with 30 strikeouts and nine walks in 27⅔ innings during that span.

Ryu has been on the disabled list twice this season, and he’s not alone. Every Dodgers starting pitcher except newcomer Yu Darvish has been on the shelf at least once in 2017. The club has manipulated the new 10-day disabled list quite adeptly, and the result is a staff full of relatively rested pitchers.

Clayton Kershaw is at 141⅓ innings on the season, and a fairly good bet to qualify for the ERA title. But he might be the only one. Whether it has been by off days or by a DL stint, nobody else has as many innings pitched as team games.

Only 35 times this season has a Dodgers pitcher started on regular four days rest, the fewest starts in baseball, and 12 of those were by Kershaw. The average in MLB this season is 50.4 starts per team on four days rest.

Most starts on 5+ days rest, 2017

Team Starts
Team Starts
Dodgers 74
Yankees 72
Indians 66
D-backs 64
Tigers 63
Mets 63

The Dodgers lead MLB with 74 starts on five or more days rest*, and get another one Sunday night when Ryu takes the mound on six days rest.

*There was one start on three days rest — Kenta Maeda on June 27 — though that was a technicality, after a one-inning relief appearance.

The results have spoken for themselves, with the LA rotation leading MLB in ERA (3.19), FIP (3.51), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.48). Dodgers starters have allowed two or fewer runs in 76 games this season, 17 more than any other major league team.

Monday’s travel day gives the Dodgers another chance to rest the rotation, as Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood and Yu Darvish will start against the Diamondbacks from Tuesday to Thursday in Arizona, all on five or more days rest. The beat goes on.

Sweeportunity

Another Sunday presents another sweep chance for the Dodgers, their 10th such attempt in the last 11 Sundays. The Dodgers have finished off seven of the previous nine Sunday sweeps.

A win on Sunday would also give the Dodgers their first sweep in New York since July 20-22, 2012, and would give them their first season sweep of the Mets ever. The Dodgers took five of six games from New York in 1981, 2009, and 2013, and won 16 of 18 in 1962 and 1963, but have never dropped a seasonal bagel on the Big Apple.

So far this season, the Dodgers are 6-0 against the Mets, outscoring them 49-15, hitting a whopping 23 home runs. The Dodgers have beaten the Mets eight straight times, dating back to 2016.

Game info

Time: 5:05 p.m. PT

TV: ESPN