The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a merry-go-round of problems in recent months, coming off a 15-15 record in the month of May and carrying over their .500 play in the month of June. However, there are signs of contribution other than outfielder Yasiel Puig.
Improving on their early-season struggles, the Dodger bullpen has only allowed three runs in 22.1 innings so far this month. Manager Don Mattingly discussed the stretch of reliable performances from his relievers, via Manny Randhawa:
“They’ve been good,” Mattingly said of his relievers. “It seems to start as our starting pitching has ironed itself out and is getting more length. We would get deeper into games, start to get our ‘pen settled down, get everybody rested and at that point the roles start kind of falling into place.”
Leading the charge in the bullpen is J.P. Howell. The left-hander has appeared in 30 games this season, boasting a 1.59 ERA while only giving up four runs and holding 12 games. The last two months have been remarkable for Howell, having held opposing offenses to one run and a .165 batting average.
Following in Howell’s footsteps is right-hander Brandon League. After a disappointing 2013 campaign, League has filled a variety of roles this season and done so smoothly. League leads the team with 33 innings pitched and hoists a 1.91 ERA with 21 strikeouts. The right-hander has been nearly untouchable in June, only allowing three hits in five innings pitched.
With guys like Howell and League throwing solid innings late in games, all roads lead to closer Kenley Jansen. Despite Jansen’s 4.66 ERA, he has still been impressive in the ninth inning, racking up 17 saves, which is tied for sixth all of Major League Baseball. Jansen has started of strong in June, recording one save in one opportunity.
Mattingly called on four relievers in Tuesday’s win over the Cincinnati Reds and though Perez allowed them to load the bases, Paul Maholm was the only pitcher to allow a run.
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