In yet another marathon extra-inning extravaganza on Friday, the Dodgers used a whopping 11 pitchers in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Giants, dropping them a full game back with 27 games remaining on the regular season schedule.
Heading into the contest, the Giants may have been worse off than the Dodgers as far as available pitchers went, but San Francisco used just six pitchers in the 11-inning affair on Saturday, as they anticipate emptying out their relief corps in their own bullpen games over the next two days.
One of the arms we saw for the Dodgers was newly acquired southpaw Andrew Vasquez. After the Dodgers scored a go-ahead run in the top of the 10th, the 27-year-old Rancho Cucamonga native was in a position to secure the save, but he quickly gave up a run when Brandon Crawford squeezed a grounder through the infield, scoring Buster Posey, who started the inning on second base.
Vasquez recorded two outs before being replaced by reliever Evan Phillips. Perhaps the most interesting part of Vasquez’s outing was that he threw 15 pitches, 14 of which were curve balls, giving some of us a flashback of Rich Hill’s unique style of pitching.
The Dodgers just acquired the curveballer on Tuesday after claiming him off waivers, then completing a trade with the Twins, sending back 26-year-old righty-hitting catcher Stevie Berman to complete the deal.
Prior to Friday, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Vasquez had not made a major league appearance since 2019 for Minnesota, but he was quickly ushered onto the Los Angeles roster when fellow lefty Scott Alexander was sent to the 60-day injured list.
Before being anointed as a Dodger, Vasquez made 33 appearances at Triple-A St. Paul in the Minnesota organization, posting a 4-0 record and a 3.61 ERA with 68 strikeouts over 42-1/3 innings of work. Although his strikeout rate was high, the 22 walks he issued was indicative of his struggles with command.
Back in 2017, Will Summers at Call of the Pen put together a decent scouting report on Vasquez when the lefty was two years deep into the Minnesota farm system.
“He survives with a plus curveball that comes in with plenty of break,” wrote Summers. “Hitters know it’s coming, yet the movement makes it hard to square up or even elevate. Vasquez slows the game down dramatically and disrupts a hitter’s tempo to his advantage. He’ll surprise a batter with a straight-moving mid-80s fastball here and there, and that just makes his primary play up even more.”
Added Summers, “His curve and fastball come out in the same arm slot, making it very deceiving for a hitter to pick up on what pitch is coming. They’re deathly afraid of getting caught with a surprise fastball they can’t catch up with after having to sit back for the breaking ball.”
According to Brooks Baseball, the one fastball Vasquez threw on Friday was clocked at 90.86 MPH.
Looking ahead, it should be interesting to see which southpaws the club selects when the postseason begins next month. Right now, the Los Angeles roster is so fluid that it’s sometimes challenging to keep track of all the players on the active roster, especially the relievers.