The grit and endurance of a bullpen down the stretch is always tested towards the end of a lengthy 162-game season. In the case of the Dodgers, those are perhaps the very attributes that the club’s pitching staff may need in pursuit of their second consecutive world championship.
Given that, the resurgence of right-handed fireballer Brusdar Graterol comes at a perfect time for Los Angeles as the bullpen will be relied upon heavily come time for October baseball.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts shared his thoughts on Graterol’s improvement since returning to the show, crediting the collective effort made by his young relief pitcher and the club’s assistant coaches and trainers.
“I think there’s a lot of credit to be handed out,” Roberts said. “I think that Mark Prior (Pitching Coach), Danny Lehmann (Communications Coach), Connor McGuiness (Assistant Pitching Coach), the strength and conditioning guys, working on his delivery, Josh Bard (Bullpen Coach) and most importantly, Brusdar.”
Brusdar Graterol, 96mph Cutter, 102mph Two Seamer…and 102mph Two Seamer. pic.twitter.com/YwjX8IVoAN
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 23, 2021
Roberts drew a comparison between the player that Graterol was from last season in comparison to 2021, where his growth and development is on full display.
“I think that last year, he came on the seam quickly and caught guys off guard with his velocity,” Roberts said. “But I think this year, going up and down, cleaning up the delivery, understanding what major league execution means, I think he’s benefited from that.”
Graterol is 3-0 with a 3.34 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched in 2021. Moreover, the Bazooka has a 2.31 ERA in 21 games since the start of August, chipping in key innings during the toughest stretch of the season for the pitching staff and starting rotation.
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch,” Roberts said. “I still love the energy but I still think there’s more of a grounded relief pitcher in there. Last night, he came up in a big spot and showing how dependable he can be.”
The Dodgers return home for the final homestand of the regular season starting on Tuesday. The San Diego Padres come to LA for three games followed by the playoff-bound Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend.