The Dodgers bullpen has come under fire after their epic meltdown against the Padres on Sunday. Starter Dustin May handed over a 7-1 lead in the seventh after striking out ten. The Dodgers relievers proceeded to give up the lead and the game as the Padres won 8-7 in extras.
Besides closer Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts appear to lack defined roles for their relievers. On any given night, it’s a mystery who’s going to come in.
Blake Treinen seemed to confirm how many fans feel about the team’s bullpen usage during an interview on AM570’s Dodger Talk with David Vassegh on Saturday.
Role wise, I think all of us are ready for the unexpected.
Treinen then backpedaled from his initial response about the bullpen.
However, his first comment foreshadowed a frenetic deployment of relievers the following day that resulted in a catastrophe.
We have conversations. They kinda let us know when and where to be expecting our name to be called.
Perhaps it’s an over-aggregation, but the kinda in his second statement paints the picture of bullpen arms seeking clarity on their roles.
The Dodgers insert their three highest usage bullpen arms, not counting Jansen, in a variety of scenarios. David Price has recorded at least one full inning pitched in innings 6-9. Jimmy Nelson has been used in everything from the sixth inning to extras.
Ironically, Treinen is the only one of three who might know what to expect. 96% of his appearances have been in the seventh and eighth innings.
The inability to prepare for deployment has hurt the bullpen. Los Angeles ranks 14th in bullpen ERA in the league currently.
More troubling, is that they rank 27th in reliever strikeouts. It’s the golden era of strikeouts. Bullpens that allow opposing hitters to put the ball in play will not be effective in the long run.
Perhaps knowing when they’ll be called upon would improve the bullpen’s overall performance.