While the 2015 regular season isn’t even three weeks old, the Los Angeles Dodgers have already experienced several highs and lows. Just one week ago, they were in the midst of a seven-game winning streak that culminated with them sitting atop the National League West.
Immediately after that followed a three-game losing streak by virtue of being swept by the San Francisco Giants in which the offense failed to capitalize on opportunities and the Giants caught more than a fair share of breaks.
Amid the peaks and valleys, a surprising constant for the Dodgers has been the performance of their bullpen. Not only has the group of relievers been able to make ends meet in the absence of closer Kenley Jansen, they’ve actually been among the best bullpens in all of baseball — thanks in large part to the emergence of young arms.
A.J. Ellis, who has seen limited action behind the plate this season in comparison to last, credits the organization for giving their young relievers a chance to prove that they belong in the big leagues, per Eno Sarris of Fangraphs.com:
I give the organization a lot of credit for letting these guys break with us to start the season. The easy thing is to always option somebody down and create depth, but these guys made a commitment to us and this team about making the best team they could. So you see guys like Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, they were probably slated to start the season in Triple-A, but the way they performed in spring training separated themselves, they made themselves necessary, must-have kind of guys.”
For his part, Pedro Baez, who began the season in terrific form, now has a 3.86 ERA after two subpar appearances in San Francisco. Meanwhile, outside of allowing a run to the San Diego Padres in the second game of the season, Yimi Garcia has kept the opposition scoreless.
The 24 year old has a 0.93 ERA and 0.62 WHIP to go with 16 strikeouts in 9.2 innings pitched. Manager Don Mattingly entrusted the right-hander with closing the door on the Padres Friday night and all Garcia did was strike out two of the three batters faced en route to earning his first career save.
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