The last time we checked on the progress of Dodgers‘ pitching prospect Walker Buehler, the young righty was coming off a successful return to the bump, having contributed to the postseason success of Low-A Great Lakes after missing more than a year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
For the sake of a better argument, perhaps a more proper question would have been: “What happens if the Dodgers get healthy?” One thing’s for sure, though, with a full compliment of capable and experienced hitters in the lineup, many fans hope that they don’t see another day of Franklin Gutierrez batting second with Enrique Hernandez in the cleanup hole.
Not long after we began a little discussion involving a few of the bullpen’s high-risk pieces, the Dodgers on Tuesday reinstated left-handed pitcher Rich Hill from the 10-day disabled list and optioned lefty reliever Grant Dayton to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
As avid followers of the Dodgers, many fans often know which relievers aren’t the most reliable out of the bullpen without needing to dig heavily into specific player statistics. At the same time, it’s difficult to comprehend that the Los Angeles relief corps still ranks second in the National League with a sub-3.00 ERA while having two or more relievers who seemingly are mainly utilized in low-leverage situations.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Of course. But I bet that Dave Roberts wishes he would’ve pulled a different play in the top of the first inning yesterday. Instead of having Chris Taylor swing away, he called for a sacrifice squeeze. The Dodgers already had two runs in, and two runners on base. Instead of getting to the rookie pitcher early, Taylor hit into a inning ending double-play where Utley was tagged out trying to go home and Yasmani Grandal was tagged trying to head into third.
My very first major league baseball game was at Dodger Stadium. I was only a year old, and I loved to sing ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” 39 years later, not much has changed, and I owe that all to my mother.
While the big league Dodgers appear to have worked out a few of the kinks from their early-season mediocrity, the boys at Oklahoma City also seem to be turning a rough corner, having stolen three out of four from Round Rock this past week, and orchestrating a huge come-from-behind victory against Fresno on Friday evening.
Baseball is a funny game. Things will happen in a game that make you scratch your head. On a night when your offense can’t buy a hit, the veteran who had been sent to Triple-A because of his lack of offense steps up to the plate and hits a pinch-hit home run. A relief pitcher that makes you cringe goes into Coors Field and throws two scoreless innings. A player who you thought needed to retire is suddenly hot, going 6-for-8 in his last three games with two doubles and a triple (I see you, Chase Utley). The same night the old man hits that triple, the guy who has been red hot at the plate and filling in for the old guy at second can barely scratch out one hit.