Given the deluge of speculation that Don Mattingly will be fired, the Dodgers manager is happy not to have a choice in one matter.
It’s certainly unconventional to start four consecutive left-handed pitchers, but when Clayton Kershaw starts tomorrow’s series finale with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Dodgers will have done so for the first time in four years. Hyun-Jin Ryu picked up a win on Wednesday, Chris Capuano a loss in the series opener against the Cardinals Friday with Ted Lilly going today.
“It’s kind of like having all righties in the bullpen,” Mattingly said. “For us right now, it’s been our healthiest guys. If I had four Kershaws, would you not like that? It’s just how we’re throwing the baseball, not too much that it’s a lot of lefties.”
With right-handers Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery, out for the season), Josh Beckett (left groin strain, 15-day disabled list) and Stephen Fife (right shoulder bursitis, 15-day disabled list) unavailable and Aaron Harang traded to Seattle, long gone are the days of hand-picking a rotation from the eight potential starting pitchers with which the Dodgers began the season.
The last time four different lefties started consecutively in May of 2009, Eric Stults, Eric Milton, Kershaw and Randy Wolf each started Dodgers victories.
Coincidentally, the Dodgers’ .285 batting average against lefties this season is the second-highest in the Majors behind Detroit, though the Dodgers have posted just a 6-9 record against left-handed starters.