Baseball is a great escape, and while we passionately follow teams and players, there are always stark reminders that it really is just a game, and there are far more important things.
Although it took many years of patience from Dodgers management alongside endless moments of booing from the Los Angeles faithful, Pedro Baez has finally emerged as one of the club’s most trustworthy relievers.
Many followers of the Dodgers hoped the addition of veteran reliever Ryan Madson would bolster the team’s relief corps just a little bit, but that doesn’t seem to be the case—at least not yet. Since returning from the DL because of nerve irritation in his lower back, Madson has made four appearances—one for the Nationals (before he was traded) and three for the Dodgers. In 3-1/3 innings of work, the righty has surrendered five hits (one of which was a long ball) and a walk, resulting in three earned runs. Despite his heater sitting in the 94-95 MPH range, he still hasn’t been able to find any mojo from his former self from a long time ago.
Aside from the whole clutch performance thing we discussed yesterday, the most glaring weakness of the Dodgers has undoubtedly been the bullpen, especially at the back-end. Kenley Jansen may be at a point where he’s deemed undependable. In the meantime, though, who should be the closer, at least until Jansen figures things out?
Sometimes, all it takes is an 11-1 drubbing of another contending club to quickly change a fan’s perspective about the direction of their favorite baseball team. When an offense works according to the way it was specifically designed, it takes a huge amount of pressure off a pitching staff, especially a bullpen which has struggled mightily over the past week. And, with the news that closer Kenley Jansen‘s healing progress has been accelerated, the immediate future of the Dodgers doesn’t seem so dismal after all.
The Dodgers‘ pitching staff has been hit with a lot of injuries this year, but none as serious as the latest. All-Star closer Kenley Jansen is expected to miss about a month due to an irregular heartbeat.
There’s a good chance the current bullpen of the Dodgers will get a bit of a makeover before playoff time, assuming that the team is indeed able to secure a spot in the 2018 postseason. It could be accomplished by utilizing injured players like Josh Fields, Julio Urias or Hyun-Jin Ryu, or management may be able to find a way to orchestrate a waiver trade before the end of August. Furthermore, there will be a few starting pitchers left over come playoff time, conceivably allowing several arms like Ross Stripling, Alex Wood or even Kenta Maeda to throw in relief down the stretch.
As a whole, fans of the Dodgers are often discredited for their gut reactions and passionate criticism when trying to evaluate the overall performance of their favorite club. However, this year, many followers of the team appear to be right on the money with their assessments. While the club has been rumored to be making strong pushes for several possible position player upgrades, the glaring needs are with the relief corps. And while it’s getting to the point when many folks start chattering about the playoffs, it’s hard to think the Dodgers can succeed with the options they have in house—even with one of the best closers in the game as their anchor.
While many fans of the Dodgers were once again pointing their fingers at the bullpen after Saturday’s loss to the Padres, I thought I’d try to make some sense of what was happening by digging a little deeper into some of the general numbers. And while there’s been no rhyme or reason as to when exactly the relief corps is likely to implode, there has been a bit of uniformity, nonetheless.
Considering everything that went down in both legs of Saturday’s doubleheader in San Francisco, there’s bound to be a few roster moves on the horizon, especially in the bullpen. Righty Pedro Baez suffered his biggest pummeling of the season in the first game; however, it was the southpaw Scott Alexander who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for the emergency promotion of outfielder Alex Verdugo. With the move, the Dodgers are back down to eight arms in the big league bullpen, but not many of them are fresh, to say the least.