Cockcroft: Dodger Pitching

Originally Published: March 10, 2005
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Games Fantasy Edge
It's still early in the exhibition season, but judging from the early returns, it's apparent that we can already evaluate a fair amount about the Dodgers' starting rotation. Los Angeles starters are always under the microscope because of the pitcher-friendly environment they work in, so let's take a look at how their starters are shaking out so far:

  • Derek Lowe has been remarkably sharp. In two starts, the sinker-ball specialist has notched seven shutout innings, limiting decent Braves and Marlins lineups to just four hits and one walk while striking out four batters. Of course, Lowe readily admits that he has been approaching his spring games with the same mindset, pitch selection and effort level as he would have in a regular-season game, so you can't take the numbers completely to heart, since the opposing batters might not be at full strength yet. He's getting grounders and using his quality middle infield defense, though, which is a good sign, so expect him to shave at least a run off that 5.42 ERA in his first year in the National League.

  • Brad Penny and Odalis Perez, both of whom are recovering from biceps injuries, might not be ready in time for opening day. Penny is still throwing bullpen sessions, while Perez is still doing long-toss, early steps in a pitcher's rehabilitation process. Both pitchers have great stuff when healthy, but their injury issues could open a rotation spot for prospect Edwin Jackson, a potential sleeper. Jackson was touted as a future fantasy ace as recently as a year ago, and there's no saying this can't be the year he breaks through if given a chance.