Heading into their four-game series against the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t in the best position for a team in first place of their division.
The Dodgers were coming off a blowout loss at the hands of the Colorado Rockies, had questions regarding their starting pitching and faced another Hanley Ramirez injury. Neither Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw were particularly sharp in their respective starts Thursday and Friday, but the Dodgers won both games.
Ramirez returned to the lineup Thursday and thus far has shown no ill-effects of the elbow strain that forced him to miss a game. The Dodgers appeared on track for another win Saturday as they took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and led 7-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The bullpen then collapsed and the Dodgers lost by one run. With a second pivotal series against the San Francisco Giants looming, Sunday’s starter wasn’t set.
Manger Don Mattingly floated the idea of going to a “bullpen game” so that Dan Haren would take the ball in place of Hyun-Jin Ryu against the Giants Monday. Following Saturday’s loss, Mattingly said Jamey Wright would start the four-game finale, according to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times:
It will still be a bullpen effort for the Dodgers Sunday. Mattingly said Jamey Wright will start, followed by everyone.
— Steve Dilbeck (@stevedilbeck) September 20, 2014
Wright started one game last season with the Tampa Bay Rays and threw 1.2 innings. Prior to that, the veteran right-hander didn’t start until 2007. In his career, Wright is 8-5 with a 3.21 ERA against the Cubs; 15 of his 21 appearances are starts.
Still needing to secure the division title and perhaps the best record in the National League, the Dodgers find themselves in a precarious situation. A Dodger starter has not gone more than five innings in the team’s last six games.
The heavy load the bullpen has shouldered could be cause for concern come Monday when the Dodgers begin their three-game series with the Giants.
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