LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers do not have a pitching fountain of youth, but the club clearly has a mountain of physical therapists.
Aside from Clayton Kershaw -- and even he spent part of 2016 on the DL -- the Dodgers rotation is flush with veterans who have overcome traumatic injuries that sidetracked their careers, none more so than Brandon McCarthy, Sunday's starter against the Colorado Rockies.
Brandon McCarthy is in his 12th season with six different teams, with his lone breakthrough being a half season for the Yankees in 2014 when he went 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts after being traded abruptly by Arizona.
This has been his breakout season, at the age of 33. He brings a 6-3 record and 2.87 ERA into the game in 12 starts, allowing two runs or less in 10 of them. The Dodgers are 8-4 in McCarthy's starts, and his record would be better with more run support. The Dodgers scored just seven runs in those four losses.
Run support is great; being healthy is even better. Shoulder soreness in 2009 led to surgery and cost him the 2010 season. He suffered a skull fracture when hit by a line drive in 2012 and was out two months. A year later, he was still having seizures from the injury as well as shoulder issues.
The Dodgers gave him a four-year deal based on that half-season with the Yankees, but he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament early in 2015 and underwent Tommy John surgery. He pitched a total of 63 innings in 14 games in 2015 and 2016.
Healthy is always relative with pitchers. The Dodgers are uber-cautious, so McCarthy skipped two turns this season with a blister and some soreness in his left shoulder.
"His ability has always been there," manager Dave Roberts said. "No one has ever doubted that. He hasn't had many seasons when he's been able to hold a regular spot in the rotation."
McCarthy has a 2/3 record and 4.57 ERA in eight career starts against the Rockies, including three starts last season in which he posted a 2.70 ERA.
Rockies starter Tyler Anderson (3-5, 5.75) is fresh from a stint on the DL (knee) that's been bothering him since April. He pitched several games with a brace before finally taking time off to heal.
He has only three quality starts in the 11 he has made this season, and he's allowing 10.3 hits and 1.9 home runs per nine innings. He's 2/3 lifetime with a 3.57 ERA against the Dodgers, but was shelled in three starts this season, allowing 16 hits and 10 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings. But his return to the rotation is welcome, what with the Rockies having played their way into contention in the NL West on the strength of four rookies in the rotation.
He pitched an inning of relief his first game back, his first non-start since he was a college star at Oregon. "I was ready to start the day I got off the DL," Anderson said. "I really didn't know what to do with myself in the bullpen, it's been so long since I pitched in relief."