Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the front office’s effort to help avoid a repeat of 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has endured several ups-and-downs. They relievers collectively yielded a 2.25 ERA in April and 2.82 ERA the month after.

However, their ERA increased in the months that followed, including a 6.27 mark in July. Despite some of the rough patches, there have been stretches where the Dodgers bullpen has impressed. Among those who has shined recently is Chris Hatcher.

The hard-throwing right-hander bounced back from a rough first half and according to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, has been comfortable without having a set role out of the bullpen this season:

None of us have really had a role all year, except Kenley,” Hatcher said. “The whole role thing is overblown, I think. As a bullpen guy, you’ve just got to be ready.”

While Hatcher is pitching well enough to be considered closer Kenley Jansen’s setup man, the designation isn’t important to him:

I enjoy every time I’m out on the mound,” Hatcher said. “Do we all want to pitch late in the game? Yeah. But is it a key? No. you just go out there when they call your name and try to get outs.”

Since returning from an oblique injury, the 30 year old owns a .189 batting average against and 1.74 ERA. Overall on the season he has a 4.55 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 29.2 innings.

Other relievers, including Luis Avilan and Jim Johnson, and J.P. Howell have also expressed their satisfaction with not having a specific role. The bullpen was perhaps the weakest link for the Dodgers lats October, so an improvement down the stretch could be a key to the team’s success in the postseason this time around.

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About The Author

Daniel Starkand is a senior at Chapman University majoring in journalism and minoring in broadcast journalism. He grew up in Burbank, CA. He played baseball at Burbank High and his first year at Chapman. He also writes for The Panther newspaper.

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