Even with a $270 million payroll, there were some concerns heading into the season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chief among those was the state of the bullpen, which was a problem last season that severely hindered them in the playoffs.
To make matters worse, injuries to closer Kenley Jansen and starter Hyun-jin Ryu highlighted the importance of improving the bullpen, which many argued the Dodgers didn’t adequately do in the offseason.
However, results through the first two weeks of the season suggest otherwise. Rather than being an Achilles heel, the bullpen has been key in helping the Dodgers pile up wins. Joel Peralta, who the Dodgers acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in November along with left-hander Adam Liberatore, highlighted the group and its approach, via Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times:
We have a great group of guys out there, young and veteran guys,” Peralta said. “Right now we are just attacking hitters, trying to get ahead of guys and get outs.”
The 39-year-old Peralta, who in six appearances this season has yet to allow a run, also touched on about the closer-by-committee approach the Dodgers have taken so far this season:
I like the chances they give me to pitch in the ninth inning,” Peralta said. “But I consider any of us out there can go pitch in the ninth inning. And I think when Mattingly believes the matchup is going to be better in the eighth inning, he’s going to bring me in the eighth. He’s not like, ‘You’re the closer.’ The closer is Jansen. When he gets back he’s going to have the ninth inning.”
Jansen, who is recovering from surgery to remove a growth from a bone on his left foot, made more progress toward a return Tuesday as he threw his second bullpen session since undergoing the procedure.
Peralta did not appear in Tuesday’s loss to the San Francisco Giants, which not only ended the Dodgers’ seven-game winning streak but also saw Pedro Baez surrender the bullpen’s first home run on the year.
Yasmani Grandal Defends Dodgers Bullpen