Now they have themselves in a pickle. The kind that makes the eyes squint and the face contort.
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu is apparently headed for shoulder surgery, a shock to absolutely no one who’s not in the Dodgers’ front office. If they suspected they were in trouble before, now they have no doubt. Now they’re deep into it.
The Dodgers knew Ryu twice went on the disabled list last season with the same shoulder problem, yet needing to fill two spots in the rotation after paying the Marlins to take Dan Haren, they signed two injury-prone starters.
Brandon McCarthy is already lost for the year and probably most of next season to Tommy John surgery. His $48-million signing is a fiasco. Fingers remain crossed that Brett Anderson, who in his previous six years has thrown over 115 innings in a season exactly once, can remain healthy.
They open a three-game series Tuesday night in San Francisco atop their division at 24-13 and with a 4½ -game lead over the Giants. They’ve already tried using five unexpected starters this season. They are relying on Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger, who have combined to go a surprising 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in six starts.
Which is great and swell, but would you want to count on similar results for the rest of the season?
As it is, Anderson (2-1, 3.50 ERA,, 1.33 WHIP) is now their de facto No.3 starter. Anderson has shown flashes of being the guy who once was the opening day starter for the A’s, but right now he’s not the someone you would want to count on as your No.3 starter in the playoffs. Which is making the big assumption that the Dodgers are playoff bound.
They clearly need another middle-of-the-rotation guy. And picking up one just got much more difficult. Like getting Katy Perry to sing at your prom difficult.
If other teams thought they had strong leverage on the Dodgers before, what are they going to think now that Ryu is headed for the knife?
The Dodgers have shown remarkable depth this season, so they have pieces that could be moved in acquiring a top, or at least solid, starter. But to acquire the better starters, teams are likely going to want at least one top prospect. A regular pickle.
They could do nothing and hope Frias and Bolsinger can somehow continue to approach their recent success. They could do nothing and hope Brandon Beachy can successfully return from his second Tommy John surgery next month.
But since they want and expect to make the playoffs this season, what they need to do is pick up another starting pitcher. And that just got a whole lot harder.