In last night’s game, the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen threw three hitless innings, silencing the critics of the new front office’s offseason decisions, at least for one night.
Instead of filling the bullpen with former closers like Ned Colletti did in 2014, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi decided to fill the bullpen with guys who have the ability to miss bats and limit walks. Included in that mix is Chris Hatcher, who the Dodgers acquired from the Miami Marlins in the Dee Gordon trade.
With Kenley Jansen out until mid-May, the team is still left without a closer. Hatcher filled that role nicely on Opening Day, throwing a scoreless inning and getting the save, but since then he has retired just one of the 10 batters he’s faced in two appearances. However, he has not been in a save situation since Opening Day.
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, Hatcher still believes he can thrive as a closer because he doesn’t have to worry about inheriting runners on base:
When you’re a closer, you get a clean inning,” Hatcher said. “The only pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself. To me, the pressure of the inning, you allow that to happen.”
Hatcher did pitch in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game though, as he came in with a 7-0 lead and one out in the inning. Hatcher could not finish off the Arizona Diamondbacks, as he was only able to record one out while giving up four runs:
Just overthrowing, I guess,” Hatcher said. “I wasn’t able to throw anything for a strike except fastballs. When they know that’s coming, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw it or how well-located it is. They can hit it.”
Joel Peralta, Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia have all looked good so far this season and could also see time in the closer’s role until Jansen returns. The trio has combined to give up one earned run while striking out 18 and walking two in 13.1 innings this season.
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