Talented as the Los Angeles Dodgers were last season, one of their biggest issues was not having enough trustworthy relief pitchers, which ultimately played a significant role in their downfall.
The front office tandem of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi aggressively addressed the issue with what’s been commonplace for the Dodgers — spending. However, it wasn’t on a lucrative contract for Andrew Miller, but paying Brian Wilson $9.5 million to remove him from the roster.
Additionally, multiple relievers were not re-signed as the Dodgers upgraded with external options. The bullpen picture became a bit muddied first with news of Kenley Jansen’s foot surgery and more recently Brandon League’s shoulder trouble.
Without the two key holdovers, order in the Dodgers bullpen is unsettled. Manager Don Mattingly has previously said he’ll rely on matchups as opposed to finding a replacement for Jansen, and it’s a thought he recently expanded on, via ESPN’s Anthony Witrado:
It’s going to be difficult to set most guys’ roles,” manager Don Mattingly said. “A couple we know where to put them. We have an idea of who we’ll use (at the back end), but it will be fluid, kind of on a daily basis depending on who’s coming up that inning and who we feel is the best matchup.”
Yimi Garcia was the first reliever Mattingly called out of the bullpen Monday, and he recorded two strikeouts as part of a scoreless seventh inning. Joel Peralta then kept the game tied by blanking the San Diego Padres in the eighth, getting a double play after allowing a one-out single.
Jimmy Rollins’ three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth gave the Dodgers a 6-3 lead and Chris Hatcher was tasked with closing the game out. The hard-throwing right-hander hit Jedd Gyorko, but recovered by inducing a ground ball double play and he ended the game by striking out Alexi Amarista.
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