One of the first things we typically do as fans during the All-Star break is take a step back and reflect on how our favorite team performed during the first half of the season.
It’s usually a relatively straightforward task, as we can say the team is overachieving, underachieving or somewhere right on track. However, with the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers, there have been so many ups and downs it’s hard to even gauge their performance.
And even though they’re Kings of the National League at the moment, their 60-30 record could easily be 70-20 if you look back on some of the games they should have won.
For as much as the offense has underachieved, the Dodgers still dominate the NL in production and are second in the majors only to the Yankees in runs scored and team OPS. They far and away have the best starting pitching ERA in the bigs at 2.77, with the Astros a distant second at 3.15.
But one of the craziest stories of the season has been the bullpen. So many things have happened that it’s nearly impossible to even evaluate its first half performance.
If you look at combined stats, it’s tough to use team relief ERA as a measuring stick because Dave Roberts likes to make mid-inning switches, and many of these guys come in and surrender runs on big hits without getting credited for the runs. If you’re a big believer in bullpen ERA, though, the team is sixth in the majors at 3.26, which really isn’t that bad considering what the relief crew has been through.
I like to use bullpen WHIP as a gauge. As it stands, the Dodgers are tied for the MLB-best at 1.100 with the Mariners. If you look at combined batting average against, the Dodgers are tied for fourth in the bigs with Cleveland at .220 — both very respectable marks.
If you would have said at the onset of the season that Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, Tommy Kahnle and Brusdar Graterol would be on the injured list at the same time and the Dodgers still would be dominating the NL West, there would be some real head-scratching happening among the fanbase.
The funniest part is that the Dodgers lead every single combined bullpen category if you take Craig Kimbrel’s numbers out of the picture, thanks primarily to brilliant first halves from guys like Evan Phillips and Yency Almonte, not to mention that Caleb Ferguson has been extraordinarily good lately.
There’s no way to predict what will happen in the second half, but we do know that Graterol should be back soon and Treinen will return at some point. Should Treinen come back strong and Kimbrel show any type of consistency at all, the 2022 bullpen crew might stay on track, specifically if they land a decent reliever at the deadline and Phillips continues his dominance as a legit late-inning option.
Overall, you really can’t say that Roberts has done a bad job managing the relief crew for the cards he has held in his hand.