In the beginning of the 2015 season, many questions arose regarding the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen. With injured veterans and a collection of young players, consistency was a problem early on but the bullpen has recovered from their mediocre start and have been lights out the past few weeks.
Although the bullpen’s collective ERA has been phenomenal at 2.28, they are also accountable for seven of the Dodgers’ 12 losses and have blown six of 12 save opportunities. However, not much more can be asked of from young players such Yimi Gracia, who has unsuccessfully been the acting closer in recent games.
Although Garcia and others have had their share of recent struggles, manager Don Mattingly didn’t have any complaints about the bullpen after Thursday’s disappointing loss. “It’s been obviously really, really good,” he said.
“Up to this point it’s been really almost dominating and I shouldn’t say a total surprise, because we have confidence in their ability, but obviously better than you would think with a lot of these young guys and how we kind of pieced things together.”
Mattingly compared the Dodgers’ recent bullpen troubles to those other teams also experience saying, “We’ve had a couple of days where we’ve had some stuff go on but it’s the same thing that’s going to happen to any team.
“We have a lot of confidence in our guys and we’ll take realistic looks at the reasons why — are we getting the ball in the right locations and the sequence, whatever it is.”
Opponents are hitting just .198 against the bullpen this year and have a .273 on-base percentage. They received a boon Friday as the Dodgers activated Kenley Jansen from the 15-day disabled list and optioned Daniel Coulombe to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Jansen struck out four batters on 14 pitches in one inning of relief Friday.
Perhaps the most effective and in turn, the most surprising bullpen piece this season has been left-hander Adam Liberatore, who allowed just one hit through his first nine appearances. Although his last outing was not as memorable as he gave up two runs, Liberatore has been just as effective against right-handed batters as he has been against lefties.
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