After a blockbuster move at the trade deadline and backup coming in the form of pitchers returning to the team from injury, the Dodgers’ pitching rotation has become one of the strongest in the NL. But will the performances of three of their aces cancel each other out when awards time comes at the end of the season?
Clayton Kershaw has long been considered the Dodgers’ superstar ace when it comes to pitching, but this season it’s been the other stars in the rotation that have stepped up and shined brighter.
The team’s actual front-runner for the NL Cy Young award, Buehler has enjoyed a career year in wins and ERA and remains near the top of innings pitched & strikeouts. Recently, he’s seen a slight dip in his efficiency but even that is just 1-2 extra hits and a run or two a game which just goes to show how unreal his season has been.
After tremendous performances in relief throughout 2020 and the Dodgers’ World Series run, the team decided to move Urias to starter and the results have been absolutely fantastic. He leads the league in wins (18 & counting) and his ability to maintain velocity & control throughout his starts has made his pitching appearances close to must-see.
The Dodgers’ trade deadline acquisition of “Mad” Max Scherzer and SS Trea Turner from Washington may prove to be what pushes the Dodgers over the top in their quest for a second consecutive World Series title. Since he arrived in LA, Scherzer has been nothing short of incredible, reaching milestone achievements like 3,000 career strikeouts, flirting with a perfect game, and pitching multiple immaculate innings. Buehler may have been an NL Cy Young favorite all year but Scherzer’s sheer dominance is willing him into the conversation.
While only one can win the award and arguments can certainly be made for other NL aces like the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes and Zack Wheeler of the Phillies, what really matters is the team’s rotation stays this dominant as the postseason begins.
With injuries to Urias & Clayton Kershaw along with free-agent signing Trevor Bauer’s ongoing legal woes, the Dodgers’ pitching looked to be the one flaw in their armor. Buehler’s dominance, Urias’ ability to keep up consistency once he returned from injury, Kershaw’s recent return, and bringing in Scherzer as the cherry on top have turned a once perceived weakness into one of the strongest rotations in baseball.
No matter who ends up winning the NL Cy Young Award, the Dodgers have to be heading into October feeling confident and hoping that their pitching staff can keep this level of dominance up. Having an ace up your sleeve can make all the difference, it’s just fortunate for the Dodgers that they have three.