He landed on the injured list on April 21 after leaving his start the night before with a groin strain. Grove in four starts this season with the Dodgers allowed 15 runs on 21 hits in 16 innings, yet still represents a glimmer of hope as the team scrambles to find quality innings from the back end of its rotation.
Grove takes Gavin Stone’s spot in the pecking order, after Stone allowed seven runs on 10 hits in two innings last Sunday against Tampa Bay. Stone allowed 17 runs (16 earned) in 10 innings over his three major league starts this season. He was optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday, and will start for Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
The rotation still includes Noah Syndergaard and his 6.54 ERA, with the right-hander struggling so much that his recent postgame media scrums were filled with despair.
“I would give my hypothetical first-born to be the old me again,” Syndergaard told reporters after Wednesday’s game against the Nationals.
Dave Roberts told reporters Friday at Dodger Stadium that Syndergaard will make his next start, Wednesday in Cincinnati, rather than the Dodgers using two off days in between to shuffle the rotation and skip him.
The light at the end of the tunnel is Julio Urías, who is out with a left hamstring strain but could return by next weekend in Philadelphia. But even he has struggled this year, with a 4.39 ERA and he was leading the league in home runs allowed before getting hurt. And the Dodgers also have to fill innings between now and then, too.
Giving Grove the benefit of the doubt, he was sick for his first two starts, and in the two starts since allowed three runs in 8⅔ innings. That’s where the Dodgers are at right now with their rotation, needing to squint to find the upside in a number of their starting options.
I suspect we’ll see more trial and error internally for the next two months before the Dodgers decide what they might need from the outside.
To make room for Grove, Justin Bruihl was optioned to Oklahoma City.
Bruihl has a 4.41 ERA in 14 appearances this season, with 13 strikeouts and three walks in 16⅓ innings. Five of his eight runs allowed came in a pair of two-inning mop-up relief appearances to finish out losses, on May 16 against the Twins and May 26 in Tampa Bay.