With nearly a quarter of the regular season in the books, the Los Angeles Dodgers are sitting atop of the National League West. In fact, they lead all of Major League Baseball in the win column with 23. Despite those facts, many are quick to criticize a bullpen, that for the most part, has been very effective.
Yes, Kenley Jansen has blown 2 saves, but he also has the most strikeouts of any Dodger reliever and has converted 12 of 14 save opportunities, 3rd in all of baseball. Yes, Joe Kelly has a 10.13 ERA with 3 blown saves of his own, but until his last outing he had been improving; striking out 7 and giving up just 2 runs over his last 5 2/3 innings. While it was expected that Jansen and Kelly would be the 1-2 punch for the 8th and 9th innings, it’s the Dodgers’ middle relievers that are the unsung heroes.
Scott Alexander (2-1)
Left-handed pitcher Scott Alexander has posted 6 holds, a 2.84 ERA, and 9 strikeouts through 12.2 innings pitched. The key to Alexander’s success has been keeping the ball in the park. Of the 51 batters faced, he has only given up one home run and forced 25 ground balls resulting in 3 double plays. Often coming into the game in the 6th or 7th inning, Scott Alexander has been particularly useful at bridging the gap to the Jansen when starters fail to make it to the 7th inning.
Dylan Floro (1-0)
While the right-handed Dylan Floro, might not be the ground ball specialist that Alexander is, he has been every bit as effective as him. Through 15 innings Floro has an impressive 0.00 ERA, 10 strikeouts, and just 1 walk. Additionally, he has managed to avoid any home runs being hit against him and has only surrendered 2 extra-base hits.
Found this nugget: Since joining the Dodgers on July 4, 2018, Floro has posted a 4-1 record with a save and a 1.05 ERA in 43 games.
That's good, right? pic.twitter.com/tTfcjJZiLl
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) May 7, 2019
Floro has been exceptional as a Dodger.
Pedro Báez (2-1)
You must hand it to the Dodgers’ front office or more importantly, Dave Roberts for not quitting on Pedro Báez. Not long ago Báez couldn’t be trusted in a pressure situation. He had a tendency to groove fastballs like he was tossing batting practice to a JV squad. Even though he’s always maintained a good ERA for himself, he inflated his predecessors’ by frequently allowing his inherited runners to score.
No longer! Báez has become Roberts’ shut down man, the guy to go to when we need to stop the hemorrhaging. In 19 innings this year, Báez has 7 holds, a 3.32 ERA, 19 strikeouts, and just 3 walks. What’s more impressive though, is that he has only allowed 3 of his 13 inherited runners to score, effectively turning his worst trait into his best.
Baseball is a fluid game. There is ebb and flow, that’s the beauty of it. Players rise to the occasions when their teammates slump. Is it coincidence that once Cody Bellinger is sidelined a few games for his shoulder injury, that Max Muncy and Chris Taylor awaken? No. I have little doubt that Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen can regain form, but in the mean time these three have risen.
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