Whether it be due to injury to some bad luck, Brian Wilson is not the setup man he was in 2013. The Los Angeles Dodgers took a gamble on the former San Francisco Giants closer and it paid off as he allowed just one run in 18 regular-season appearances and zero runs in six postseason games.
Signs this season would be drastically different came in Wilson’s second time out of the bullpen in 2014. He entered the game against the San Diego Padres in the eighth inning on March 30 with the Dodgers holding a 1-0 lead.
Wilson was removed after facing six batters, allowing three runs and failing to record a single out. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list two days later with nerve irritation in his right elbow and has yet to regain form.
While the 32 year old hasn’t duplicated last season’s results, Wilson looks past some of his poor statistics and instead focuses on his number of holds, according to the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett:
I look at hold situations,” said Wilson who is second to Howell (25) with 19 holds this season. “I believe in hold situations I’ve only given up a run three times and only one of those was in a loss.”
Given that manager Don Mattingly hasn’t settled on the same relievers night in and night out for late-inning situations, Wilson has been used in a variety of situations. The righty used that as an explanation for his perceived down year:
It’s like if you give up 100 runs in an inning one time but then have 89 scoreless innings – are you going to tell me I suck because I have a 10.00 ERA? To be fair, how much are they paying me to get outs in the seventh inning of games we’re trailing?”
Mattingly claims there’s been a difference in Wilson this season compared to last, but adds he’s content with the reliever’s work:
The thing with Brian is it has not been as clean this year as last year,” Mattingly said. “It’s not been him coming in like last year … you gave the ball to Brian and you felt that inning was over. Nobody really got on base hardly ever. It hasn’t been the same. But even though it hasn’t looked the same …it’s been OK.”
Dating back to his first post-All-Star break appearance, Wilson put together a stretch where he allowed just one run in nine appearances and collected four holds in 8.1 innings of work.
Wilson then was charged for three runs on Aug. 14 against the Atlanta Braves, which was a game he entered in the eighth inning and the Dodgers hung on to win. Wilson has since bounced back with more scoreless work in 1.2 innings (two appearances).
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