The theme of this season has been many player’s being unable to replicate the success they have had in prior seasons. Cody Bellinger is a big one that comes to mind as well as Victor González who has regressed big time. Of course, there is also the mighty Brusdar Graretol, who is fueled with a triple digit fastball.
Graterol played a vital role out of the bullpen that helped lead to the team’s 2020 success. In 23 1/3 innings of work he posted a 3.03 ERA with 13 strikeouts. He did also induce ground balls at about 64% of the time which made up for his lack of missing bats. This year has been a different story for him as he’s struggled to replicate that same type of production.
He just hasn’t been all too reliable this season and has been easier to read my most hitters. Although he has averaged 99.3 MPH on his pitches, opposing hitters are squaring up the ball a lot more. However, Dave Roberts mentioned that Graterol has been getting help from his coaches as well as from a clubhouse leader in Justin Turner.
“I think the credit goes to our pitching staff – Connor McGuinness, Mark Prior, Josh Bard – those guys have been working on Brusdar with the delivery. JT ironically enough is the one who brought it to light initially about slowing Brusdar down. With kind of those guys running with it, slowing his delivery down, which has allowed him to execute the two-seamer as well as the sliders. I think going forward if we can keep that delivery intact, then we’re going to see the best of Brusdar.”
That tactic seemed to work on Saturday night as Brusdar found himself in a tough spot with two outs with runners on first and second. The Angels called upon Shohei Ohtani to pinch hit in the top of the 8th, and instead of walking him as they did on Friday, Doc trusted in the Bazooka. Knowing that Brusdar has had his fair share of struggles this year, walking Ohtani to load the bases brought about more risks than Doc wanted to avoid.
“Brusdar did a great job. I thought about it, to potentially walk the bases loaded, which I have done before, but with Brusdar’s stuff, ball getting by the catcher, potential walk, I just felt that if you pitch him carefully, which was the goal, we had a chance to get him. Credit to him and Will [Smith].”
Graterol was able to land two sliders for strikes to help eventually set up a 102 mph heater to finish the job and allow the Dodgers to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning. With Jimmy Nelson out for the season as well as many other options on the IL as well, the Dodgers will be looking for more of that from Brusdar Graterol.