The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Colorado Rockies, 6-3 on Saturday, to keep their streak alive of avoiding a three-game losing streak this season. After falling behind 1-0 in the third, the Dodgers answered back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning and held a 5-2 lead through seven. Paul Maholm turned in a gem of a performance and then had to watch as the Dodger bullpen nearly blew another lead.
Chris Withrow took over for Maholm in the eighth and walked the bases loaded with one out. The hard-throwing right-hander got out of the jam by striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. The Dodgers added to their lead in the bottom of the eighth, and with a four-run lead, Brian Wilson was on the mound to start the ninth. Wilson issued back-to-back leadoff walks and his night quickly came to an end as manager Don Mattingly replaced Wilson with Kenley Jansen.
The outing was the latest in a string of poor relief appearances from Wilson. After Wilson was charged with four runs in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on April 24, Mattingly discussed potentially changing the reliever’s role. In the same discussion, Mattingly also added he isn’t sure if Wilson is healthy, however according to Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA, the manager stated otherwise following Saturday’s win:
Don Mattingly said he believes Wilson is healthy, the ball is coming out well. Said it's more an issue of execution of pitches
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) April 27, 2014
Through seven appearances and 4.0 innings pitched, Wilson is 0-2 with one blow save, has allowed nine runs, eight of them earned, surrendered eight hits and issued seven walks. Compared to his 2013 statistics, Wilson is clearly a far cry from the pitcher he was.
Last season, Wilson allowed all but one run through 13.2 innings and eight hits. Towards the end of his stint on the disabled list for nerve irritation in his elbow, Wilson proclaimed he was ready to pitch again. Despite the vote of confidence he gave himself, Wilson has yet to revert to form.
In fairness to Wilson, he isn’t the only reliever in the Dodger bullpen who has struggled. However, one of the standout arms has been Chris Perez, who is capable of replacing Wilson as the setup man. Should the former San Francisco Giants closer continue to fall victim to the inconsistency he’s shown, Mattingly’s hand may be forced into making a change.
Dodgers News: Reliever Brian Wilson Placed On DL, Nerve Irritation