The Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitching rotation has questions that need answering right now. Clayton Kershaw is reportedly pitching through an injury, Lance Lynn has given up the most home runs in baseball, and now Walker Buehler won't be returning in 2023 at all. Meanwhile, Julio Urías may not ever pitch for the Dodgers again after getting arrested on the suspicion of felony domestic violence. The Dodgers have other options, but many of them are inexperienced.
If the season ended today, LA's playoff rotation would include Kershaw, Lynn, and probably Bobby Miller. Miller is an impressive young arm who's in his rookie season. However, relying on a rookie as a team's No. 2 or No. 3 option in the playoffs is a risky move. Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove are also options, but Grove is expected to pitch in a relief role.
What if I told you there was one pitcher who we haven't even named yet that can save the Dodgers' starting pitching rotation? Of course, Clayton Kershaw is still the most important pitcher in the rotation. But this yet-to-be-named hurler can add depth, length, and serve in a versatile role.
Ryan Yarbrough, a 31-year-old left-hander with a career 4.27 ERA, is the pitcher who can save the Dodgers' playoff rotation.
Dodgers: Ryan Yarbrough to the rescue?
Ryan Yarbrough has pitched as both a reliever and starter in his career. He's been operating as a multi-inning reliever for the Dodgers since being acquired ahead of the trade deadline.
No, Yarbrough doesn't blow hitters away with velocity. Instead, he's a crafty left-hander who relies on a steady dosage of breaking pitches. His low 70's breaking ball tends to make his mid-80's heater appear much faster than it is.
Although Yarbrough has dealt with inconsistent results in his career, he owns a quality 2.82 ERA since joining the Dodgers as of this story's publication, per Baseball Reference.
So how can Yarbrough save the Dodgers' playoff rotation?
Unless Los Angeles struggles mightily down the stretch, they are going to host the National League Division Series (NLDS). They will only need a three-man rotation in that event, but there's no guarantee that Kershaw, Miller, and Lynn will be able to work deep into games. Enter Yarbrough. He will be able to piggy-back at least one of those starts and give 3-4 innings out of the bullpen.
Or, the Dodgers could even have him start a game and bring in another pitcher after. The opener strategy is a possibility.
But Yarbrough's importance will increase if the Dodgers reach the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and World Series. Since both of those series are seven games long, the Dodgers may need Yarbrough to piggy-back starts on short-rest depending on who the fourth starter ends up being. For now, Pepiot is probably the top option to be the fourth starter but nothing is guaranteed.
An unlikely potential hero, Yarbrough might just save the Dodgers' rotation. In fact, his presence may save the Dodgers' season!