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2018 Dodgers Player Reviews: Scott Alexander

Dodgers
Mar 31, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Alexander (75) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Alexander came to the Dodgers by way of a three-team, five-player trade on January 4. 

Alexander was dealt from Kansas City, while the Dodgers shipped Luis Avilan to the White Sox and prospects Trevor Oaks and Erick Mejia to the Royals. Minor league infielder Jake Peter also came to Los Angeles from Chicago.

With 2017 postseason relief aces Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson departing via free agency, Alexander was effectively the replacement for both of them. Even if the ownership was inclined to be more spendthrift, Morrow was likely to walk due to his injury history. (In an interesting coincidence, Alexander has type 1 diabetes like Morrow.)

As a lefty with a propensity for ground ball outs, Alexander thus was more of a substitute for Watson. 

He introduced himself a bit to Los Angeles here with Alanna Rizzo.

Regular Season Recap

In an often tumultuous season for the Dodgers relief corps, Alexander struggled at the start. However, after a short 4 game stint with AAA Oklahoma City in early May, he proved to be a bright spot in the bullpen throughout the season. 

G W L ERA S K
73 2 1 3.68 3 56

2018 Regular Season Numbers

One of his more memorable moments came on June 1 in Colorado. He pitched 1.1 IP as the “opening pitcher” of a bullpen game after Clayton Kershaw hit the DL.

He also secured another Coors Field victory overshadowed by injury on August 9. After the team suddenly found itself without closer Kenley Jansen, Alexander was called upon to save an 8-5 win.

How’d He Do in October?

Scott Alexander saw surprisingly little action in the postseason. He appeared in one game of the NLDS against Atlanta, pitching one hitless inning.

He was left off the NLCS roster after being swapped for Julio Urias. This was a shocking move as Urias had only pitched 4 MLB innings since May of 2017.

Despite his absence in the NLCS, Alexander made the World Series roster in lieu of Caleb Ferguson. This too came as a surprise to many, although Ferguson’s velocity dip in the NLCS (and concomitant worries about his workload) were the likely reason.

Unfortunately, Alexander didn’t seize the opportunity, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings pitched — translating to a ghastly 13.50 World Series ERA.

The first run came in the top of the 13th of game three, an RBI single by Eduardo Nunez that put Boston up 2-1, and on the verge of taking a 3-0 series lead. Fortunately, the clutch baserunning of Max Muncy bailed Alexander out in the bottom half, before his walk-off homer in the 18th provided Los Angeles their sole win in the Fall Classic. 

Alexander’s second run in game four, however, proved far more deleterious. In a seventh inning sure to haunt Dodgers fans for quite some time, the untouchable Rich Hill was lifted in favor of Alexander with lefty Brock Holt due at the plate.

By all accounts, Hill should likely have at least faced Holt before leaving. Instead, Alexander issued a walk before being lifted for Ryan Madson. When Madson gave up a Matt Stairs-esque three-run home run to Mitch Moreland, Alexander was charged with one of those runs. Sadly, it was but one of many charged to numerous Dodger relievers in the final three innings of a nightmare loss. 

Given Alexander’s limited use, and the miraculous comeback that negated his run allowed in game three, it wouldn’t be fair to label him a disaster. Compared to the October heroics of Watson and Morrow one year prior, however, his efforts in the World Series were especially underwhelming.

What Lies Ahead

Alexander remains under team control for 2019. His ground ball capabilities and left-handedness will continue to make him a valuable asset for a bullpen in transition. However, it is certainly imperative the front office acquire an impact arm or two (i.e. Edwin Diaz) to lessen high-leverage use of him deep in the playoffs.

Written by Marshall Garvey

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