Whether the management crew of the Dodgers is prepared to admit it or not, the bullpen is continuing to prove itself as the weakest link on an otherwise very talented ballclub. Monday night’s loss to the Angels was another example of how the relief corps imploded, as it surrendered four combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings, spoiling a very fine outing by Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Joe Kelly was lights out in the playoffs in 2018. The hard-throwing righty went 11 innings, striking out 13 and not issuing a single walk. He allowed just one earned run, posting a 0.79 ERA in the process. However, Kelly hasn’t been quite effective this year for the Dodgers, surrendering four home runs, striking out 20 and walking eight. He has allowed 17 earned runs in 19.1 innings pitched, equating to an ERA of 7.91.
The Dodgers seem to have a knack for finding effective, under-the-radar relievers. Last year it was Dylan Floro, the year before it was Brandon Morrow, and in 2016 it was a workhorse in Joe Blanton. This year the Dodgers diamond in the rough reliever very well may be Yimi Garcia.
When it took Rich Hill 104 pitches to get through six innings in Tuesday’s contest against the Mets, many onlookers cringed at the fact that the Dodgers‘ relief corps would need to be depended upon to complete three full innings of work.
Some nights, the bullpen of the Dodgers looks almost untouchable. Other nights, its performance is so ineffective that fans of the team imagine dozens of trade possibilities they hope might go down at the summer deadline.
Arguably, their offense is among the very best in baseball. Their starting pitching is decent but, more importantly, deep. But, if there’s one, single downfall to the 2019 Dodgers, it’s been the performance of their bullpen.
Needless to say, there have been a high number of discussions among fans regarding the bullpen of the Dodgers. Seven games into the season, there are probably more questions now about the relief corps than there were at the beginning of Cactus League play in February.
Without question, the biggest move the Dodgers made so far this offseason was signing fireballer Joe Kelly to a three-year deal. Actually, it was the only big move (unless you count the Kershaw contract), as most of the other signings and deals were mostly dribble in creating depth right along the fringe. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.
Old foes can become friends, and that is what seems to be happening between the Dodgers and Joe Kelly. The 30-year-old righty reliever is reportedly in agreement to sign with Los Angeles, pending a physical.