The Dodgers saw their 10-game winning streak at Dodger Stadium ended last night, at the hands of Patrick Corbin and the Washington Nationals. They were held scoreless for the just the third time this season and for the first time at home.
Thankfully, not all the games have been clunkers like last night. As Joe Davis pointed out on Twitter today, we’re already at the quarter point of the season, and leaps and bounds ahead of last season.
As Dennis highlighted yesterday, the Dodgers will continue to face good pitching in this series against the Nationals, even though their record may not reflect it so far this season. Tonight’s matchup of Kenta Maeda against righty Anibal Sanchez hopefully will get the Dodgers’ bats back in the groove before they have to face Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday.
The Dodgers have some decisions to make in the coming days. Right now, the bullpen consists of Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, Dylan Floro, and Scott Alexander. But both Caleb Ferguson and Tony Cingrani could be returning to the bullpen after dealing with injuries.
Ferguson has been out for 10 days due to an oblique strain. It was not too serious, and so he resumed throwing after taking only a couple days off. He is set to have a rehab start with High-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight, and work towards being able to pitch multiple innings in a row. Cingrani has not yet stepped onto the mound for the Dodgers this season, as he has been dealing with a shoulder issue. He has had three rehab assignments so far, and has pitched three scoreless innings, with three strikeouts and two hits.
So who to move where when these relievers finally return to the big club? We know that Kenley, Kelly, and Báez are not going anywhere, as much as some fans might be calling for them to do so. Dylan Floro also has earned the right to stay, as he still has yet to allow an earned run.
While Garcia didn’t start out the season so well, he’s been stellar in his last eight games, retiring 25 of the 28 batters he’s faced, allowing only two hits and one HBP. He is also out of options.
Ross Stripling and Julio Urías are starters by trade, and most likely prefer to be doing so. Stripling could be moved down to Triple-A to do just that, until another inevitable injury to one of the Dodgers’ starters happens. Urías is on an innings limit, so moving him down wouldn’t make any sense. The last option would be moving Alexander down to Oklahoma City.
The Dodgers front office has shown themselves to be nothing short of creative when working within the limits of the roster and the Injured List. It’s possible that Joe Kelly ‘develops’ an injury and is moved to the IL, so that he can work our all the issues he’s having. The same could be said for any starting pitcher that maybe needs some ‘rest,’ and Stripling could take his place in the rotation.
Of course, Caleb Ferguson could have an extended stay in the minor leagues, rehabbing to build up that arm and working on his command, which he had been having issues with before his oblique injury.
Whatever the Dodgers decide to do, it’s good to know the Dodgers have such depth in the bullpen, even when fans are wont to complain about how they’ve performed up until this point. As usually happens during a season, things will work themselves out so the Dodgers have the best bullpen with which to head into the offseason.