Eric Stults has made 18 starts in his major league career. Here are his innings pitched in each start, in descending order.
9.0 7.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 5.1 5.1 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.2 4.2 4.1 4.0 4.0 3.2 2.2
That nine inning game was a shut out of the White Sox. His start yesterday was the shortest of his career, and probably the worst as well.
Stults just doesn't go deep into games. You know going in that you'll need at least 4 relief innings. Every pitcher will have some short outings, but Stults makes a habit of it. That's why he's a fringe fifth starter.
A lot of Stults' 5 inning starts are actually pretty good, just in terms of runs allowed. His first three starts this year were 5 or 5.1 innings, and he allowed a total of 6 runs in those games. The Dodgers won all three games. But there was a 4 inning tax on the bullpen in each game. That's a problem when you have another man in the rotation who doesn't go deep into games either. But I don't think the Dodger rotation will feature both Stults and McDonald for much longer. A few weeks from now it might not feature either.
McDonald really should return to the 'pen at some point to help keep his pitches thrown down this season, though one perspective is that he's done a fine job of that on his own by not lasting long into games. I don't know what should or will happen to Stults. His career ERA as a starter is 4.55, and the Dodger record in games he starts is 10-8. He may be a fringe fifth starter, but I'd argue that he's been an effective one. He's a good pitcher to have around.
Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )
Stults -- 2
Ethier -- 1
Unfair Win Shares ( Giants )
Lincecum -- 1
Renteria -- 1
Molina -- 1