Suddenly, the Outlook of the Dodgers Bullpen Doesn’t Seem So Gloomy

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.

According to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, Jansen and skipper Dave Roberts hope the All-Star reliever will be cleared to pitch as soon as Monday.

“I’m miserable right now,” Jansen said on Friday afternoon. “I need to be out there. That’s why my fingers are crossed for Monday. We’ll see. If that happens, that would be great, so I can come back and help us get back in the race, and try to go where we want to go.”

Jansen had been placed on the 10-day disabled list on August 10 with an irregular heartbeat and has been prescribed blood thinners in the meantime to help alleviate the symptoms. He has been throwing light bullpens, though, with the most recent coming before the opener on Friday night in Seattle.

At one point this week, it appeared as if a poorly constructed bullpen would conceivably push the Dodgers out of the divisional race in the NL West. The front office crew of the Dodgers faced heavy scrutiny as it ignored making any significant upgrades prior to the non-waiver trade deadline last month.

Since Jansen’s illness, the Los Angeles relief crew blew leads in seven consecutive games heading into the Mariners series. The Dodgers lost five of those contests and surrendered control of the division to Arizona. During that time, the team was relegated to depend on the services of such unknowns like Zac Rosscup, JT Chargois, Dylan Floro and Erik Goeddel to provide quality relief. Ironically, it was the highly-criticized Pedro Baez who stepped up on Wednesday evening with an impressive appearance to seemingly bring the crew out of its funk.

What’s more, the rehab of hard-throwing righty Josh Fields was escalated to the Triple-A level on Friday night, when he threw a perfect seventh inning for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Fields is expected to make at least one more appearance for OKC, then will be evaluated in terms of his readiness for the bigs.

With the prospective return of Jansen, coupled with a late-inning presence of Fields, Scott Alexander and Kenta Maeda—so long as he remains in the bullpen—the landscape of the Los Angeles relief corps would not seem so gloomy. Perhaps by not having the pressure of the ninth inning on their shoulders, Alexander and Maeda will slide back to their normal mindsets, allowing them to successfully setup Jansen.

Throw All-Star righty Ross Stripling back into the bullpen mix and the future looks even brighter. Stripling was placed on the 10-day DL on Wednesday with back problems, but the injury does not appear as serious as it sounds.

“I don’t have any bulging discs or anything like that, it’s basically managing symptoms,” Stripling explained this week. “Give it a couple of days, get on some good meds and try to get the inflammation out of there. I’m going to give it through the weekend, since they are going to Seattle, and I’ll stay here.”

The activation of veteran right-hander Daniel Hudson on Friday provides an additional boost to the relief crew.

Of course, one of the biggest enemies of the Dodgers right now is a gritty Arizona Diamondbacks crew, which still leads the division by a full two games. In the same breath, 39 contests still remain on the regular season schedule—plenty of time for Los Angeles to establish momentum and make a playoff push. Furthermore, the Dodgers will host the D-Backs in what’s shaping up to be a huge four-game series beginning on August 30.

 

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How Do the Dodgers’ 3-4-5 Starters Stack Up in the NL West?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Do you really think it’s Clayton Kershaw who’s going to pitch the Los Angeles Dodgers the National League pennant again this season?

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More Thoughts About the Dodgers 2018 Starting Rotation

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First and foremost, happy 30th birthday to the best pitcher on the planet, our very own Clayton Kershaw. Even though it seems that he has been with the Dodgers for a nice long time, it doesn’t seem that he should yet be at the ripe old age of 30.

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6 Dodgers Predictions Sure to Come True in 2018

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We’ve finally made it to the last weekend without baseball. Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to their respective compounds early next week to start preparations for the upcoming season. We thought it would be fun to look at a few somewhat crazy, but still plausible things that could happen with the Dodgers this season.

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Dodgers Starting Rotation: A Few Preliminary Thoughts Heading into 2018

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(Mandatory Credit: David Goldman/AP)

With the hot stove season and baseball’s winter meetings inching ever so closer, there has been a huge amount of chatter and speculation among followers of the Dodgers surrounding potential trades or the addition of a few free agents. But while the squad will indeed have a slightly different look come spring, there’s a pretty good chance that management builds the 25-man roster from the existing framework within the organization. Last week, general manager Farhan Zaidi addressed the media, stating that he thinks the roster won’t need much work.

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Dodgers Bullpen: Kenta Maeda Opening Eyes in Relief Role

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Prior to the 2017 campaign, 29-year-old pitcher Kenta Maeda had never made a relief appearance outside of a single game for the Hiroshima Carp during his 2008 rookie season in the Japan Central League. But the manner which he handled himself in the bullpen during the NLDS sweep over the Diamondbacks may have persuaded the management crew of the Dodgers to use the right-hander in similar higher-leverage relief spots moving forward into the playoffs.

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Dodgers Sweep Diamondbacks in Division Series, Set Sights on NLCS

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the 2017 National League Championship Series after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in convincing fashion. The 3-1 win was led by Yu Darvish and Cody Bellinger. They are the only MLB team to sweep in the divisional series.

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Dodgers 2017 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

*****Check out this link for our most recent round of roster projections*****

As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.

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Better Playoff Roster Option: Kenta Maeda or Hyun-Jin Ryu?

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Among the minds of many fans of the Dodgers, there seems to be the speculation that there are quite a few auditions currently being held for spots on the prospective NLDS roster. Yet, outside of perhaps one or two last minute decisions, the roster is probably close to being solidified—at least in the eyes of the management crew. One of the final contemplations, however, will be trying to figure out how to put the finishing touches on the bullpen, which could very well boil down to the inclusion of either Kenta Maeda or Hyun-Jin Ryu.

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Dodgers Roster: A Few More Thoughts About the Starting Rotation

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At this point last week, many followers of the Dodgers were beginning to show signs of concern for a major collapse in the standings, yet many close to the team who knew a little bit about mathematical probability simply shrugged off the slump as a common occurrence which could happen to any contending squad.

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