The latest addition to the club is Ricky Nolasco, and be it contract year motivation or just plain getting away from the Miami Marlins, he’s been everything the Dodgers have asked for … and then some.
In fact, you might even say that he’s never been better in this entire career.
Just ask the Chicago Cubs, who were victims to the righty’s latest tour de force as he dominated them for eight full shutout innings, allowing three hits, one walk, while striking out a whopping 11 batters, tying a career-high.
Not enough for you? How about the fact that he was also in shutdown mode against the Boston Red Sox, stymieing them for yet another eight scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and walking none (one hit batsman) while striking out six?
The two starts, with 86 and 84 game scores respectively, are tied for second and third-best over Nolaco’s 223-start career, and represent arguably the best two-start stretch of his career. In fact, considering that he’s now put together four straight quality starts and haven’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 10 turns for the Dodgers, you can’t really say it came out of nowhere either.
You can pick your choice of numbers here, but the move to a contender has seen an improvement in just about all of his numbers. He’s striking out marginally more batters (7.48 K/9 vs. 7.21 while with Miami), generating more ground balls (45.7 percent vs. 41.9) and allowing fewer line drives (22.5 percent vs. 24).
To top that all of, he’s even throwing harder (91 mph average fastball vs. 90.2).
Though he ranks just fourth with his 0.6 fWAR in August (which should tell you how good the rest of Los Angeles’ starters have been), he’s posted a brilliant 1.64 ERA, and actually leads the team’s staff with a 0.89 WHIP over his 38.1 innings this month.
In addition, his .197 BAA over that span is second only to that of Clayton Kershaw — just think about that for a moment.
So … you think he’s putting in a little extra effort these days or what?