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Dodgers: Building A Better Bullpen – NLDS Edition

Dodgers
September 2, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Dodgers
May 9, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias (7) in the sixth inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I took a second look at what the bullpen might be like for the Dodgers playoff roster. The list of candidates have not changed but some of the thoughts have. None of the other assumptions have changed; 13 position players, 4 starters and 8 bullpen spots.

Below, I’ll list all the bullpen pitchers that have a possibility of making the playoff roster. The starters have already been selected by Manager, Dave Roberts. I’m trying to predict what management will do but I will have my own choices later.

Changes to the status from last week will be marked with an X or an X based on removal or addition. One new twist is that I have done a quick poll of some other Dodgers Nation personnel and will add them to the table. The poll was a couple days ago so they missed the following news:

Pitcher Starter Bullpen Playoffs? Clint Evans A.J. González Greg Bergman Notes
Scott Alexander X X X X Alexander is a ground ball machine. Biggest weakness is he can start out without his command which leads to walks. He seems to not lock in and when he elevates, the hitters celebrate. He was used a lot in the last week. His first two appearances were good but his last 3 were not good. 
John Axford X He is long shot due to injury. He is a veteran who still hits 96 MPH on the gun. Per above he is not a candidate for the NLDS roster.
Pedro Baez X X X X X He’s been excellent and an easy choice to make the roster. Let’s see if he can have some playoff success.
Walker Buehler X Ace
Tony Cingrani X Per above, he is not a candidate for the NLDS roster. I have some hope he can get some success in Arizona instructs and can be a contributor later.
Caleb Ferguson X X X X As of now, Roberts trusts him a lot so I think he makes it. On only one occasion has he pitched on consecutive days.
Josh Fields X Another who is coming back from injury. I think it depends on the opponent. Since he is a fly ball pitcher he can’t be on the roster for games in ballparks where the ball flies out. Doc wouldn’t use him in Houston last year. In his only appearance in the last week he was perfect.
Dylan Floro X X X X In his last 10 appearances he hadn’t given up a run. Then, in his last appearance against Arizona, he gave up a walk and 3 hits and didn’t get anyone out. He was not used after that. He is now questionable.
Yimi Garcia X Per the above, he is not a candidate for the NLDS roster.
Rich Hill X X The 4th starter. His last start in San Francisco was a great way to end the season.
Kenley Jansen X X X X X The biggest key for the Dodgers. He hasn’t put together a strong stretch yet. Doc cannot just give him the 9th. If he puts a runner on their needs to be someone warming up right away.
Clayton Kershaw X X Nothing needs to be said.
Ryan Madson X X He still hasn’t found his 2017 form but that might be changing. His last two appearances were pretty good and he provides a lot of playoff experience. He has a good shot at making it.
Kenta Maeda X X X X X A good starter and an excellent reliever. They do need to be careful overworking him in the bullpen.
Zac Rosscup X Since mid-August, he’s been awesome. He’s striking out a lot of batters. He could sneak his way onto the roster especially against a team with a lot of left-handed hitters. This last week he has struggled and he’s no longer a candidate for the NLDS roster.
Hyun-Jin Ryu X X The game 1 starter.
Ross Stripling X X Nobody’s fortunes have changed faster than Stripling’s. He seems to have lost confidence. His last start in Arizona had a nice first inning but then fell apart. He is questionable in my book.
Julio Urías X X X It would take a miracle but I’d love to see him make it. I just think he’s almost out of time for 2019. His latest appearance might make Doc think twice about leaving him off the roster.
Pat Venditte He’s been very good since being recalled in late August. The switch-pitcher is an interesting weapon. He’s been sent out so will not be part of the NLDS roster.
Alex Wood X X X X X Despite his first bullpen appearance, I see him making the post-season roster. I’m still hoping to see more velocity from him. Too many of his starts get off shaky. That is not good for a reliever. However, in the last week he was excellent.

A special note from FRG (@realFRG) who said “Give me Julio or give me death!”

What I see above is more guys deserving to be on the post-season roster than there are spots available. Last year, it wasn’t that way and it hurt the team in the World Series, especially games two and three. Given that the Dodgers are playing the Braves in the NLDS my choices are below.

Starters

  • Ryu
  • Kershaw
  • Buehler
  • Hill

Bullpen

  • Jansen
  • Maeda
  • Alexander
  • Floro
  • Ferguson
  • Stripling
  • Rosscup
  • Baez
  • Wood
  • Madson
  • Urias

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”none” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-hyun-jin-ryu-gets-the-game-one-nod-in-nlds-bs0193/2018/10/03/”]Dodgers: Hyun-jin Ryu Gets the Game One Nod in NLDS[/button]

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

One Comment

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  1. There’s no chance that Alexander is left off the roster and in case you haven’t noticed, Ross Stripling has pitched in relief exactly once after May 3. On top of that, he’s been horrible since coming back from the DL. How doesn’t make any sense that he’s on and Floro’s off?

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