Roughly one month into the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have dealt with frustrating extra-inning losses, injuries to key players and uncharacteristic performances out of their relievers. Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson have been the primary culprits, with each surrendering leads on multiple occasions thus far.
Along with struggling relievers, manager Don Mattingly has had to call on his bullpen at a high rate. Jansen leads all NL relievers with 15 appearances, J.P. Howell is tied for second with 12 and Chris Perez is tied for fourth with 13.
A former closer with the Cleveland Indians, Perez had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2013 and as a result, wasn’t offered a contract by the Indians. The right-hander signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers in the off-season and was open to being utilized in anyway Mattingly saw fit.
Perez has six holds and has allowed two runs in 11.2 innings pitched, with one loss to his name and without a save. According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News Group, Perez has accepted the fact he may not get the opportunity to save games:
You go through a stretch where you get a bunch of save opportunities in a row, or you go through a stretch where we’re scoring a lot of runs and the other team’s not, and you’re just trying to get some work in.
Perez also added he sees value in being asked to pitch in a variety of situations:
This year it’s been a little more consistent appearance-wise. I’ve been used in all types of games, whether we’re up or down. It keeps me sharp.”
Aside from Perez’s lone loss on April 18, which was his longest outing this year at 2.0 innings and also the only game he’s allowed a run in, the right-hander has been a reliable option for Mattingly. With Wilson struggling to re-capture his 2013 form, Perez’s value may increase if he’s needed to assume the role as setup man.
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