For a second consecutive night the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen combined to throw multiple scoreless innings en route to a win. On Friday Jim Johnson, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen, in that order, kept the Cincinnati Reds off the scoreboard and bases over the final 2.2 innings.
Yimi Garcia and Chris Hatcher weren’t nearly as effective Saturday, as Garcia allowed one base hit in what was otherwise a perfect night for the bullpen. The duo combined to throw three innings, with Hatcher setting the Reds down in order in the ninth — his first appearance since being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.
“It’s something you want for a guy that struggled a little bit,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Hatcher’s return. “He had been down there working on his stuff. We saw him use his split and slider today. Another guy that has to use his secondary pitches and sequence himself up.”
Since converting a save opportunity on Opening Day, Hatcher had largely been a disappointment for the Dodgers. He was placed on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain in June and later transferred to the 60-day DL as a paper move to clear room for acquired players in trades with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.
Maligned as Hatcher has been, Saturday was his fourth consecutive scoreless outing. He’s thrown 2.2 innings, allowed one hit and collected three strikeouts during that stretch. Hatcher’s ERA remains inflated at 6.05 through 28 appearances, though his 1.50 WHIP and 3.21 FIP continue to be reason for optimism.
As for Garcia, he’s also in a stretch of four straight scoreless appearances, with three coming after he was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. “I actually thought he was good the time before,” Mattingly said. “But we had to send him down for some reason. He threw the ball good that last time. He’s really been good since.”
At the time of optioning Garcia to OKC, Mattingly said the decision took into account taking some pressure off the right-hander and giving Garcia a small breather. Like with Hatcher, Mattingly voiced his support of Garcia and said he remained part of the bullpen picture moving forward.
Further tying Garcia and Hatcher together is getting Garcia to also use his complete arsenal. “We just really want him to use his pitches,” Mattingly said. “You know his stuff is good. We wanted him to work on his secondary pitches. He’s throwing the breaking ball more and he’s actually using his changeup more.”
Garcia has now appeared in 44 games this season and lowered his ERA to 3.50 and WHIP to 0.98 with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Saturday.