In the off-season, the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed Brian Wilson to be the setup man to closer Kenley Jansen. Wilson allowed just one run in his stint with the team at the end of last season and was expected to solidify the late innings.
So far, Wilson has not been near the pitcher he was in 2013 and the rest of the bullpen has struggled in their own way. Don Mattingly has had to overuse his relievers a bit early in the year because of the starters being pulled after five or six innings.
According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, Mattingly is continuing to try and find a consistent game plan for the later innings:
We’re going to keep trying. We want to get ourselves settled out there. We haven’t had anybody really take everything over. We’re still searching,” Mattingly said. “We’ll keep working towards it. We have a lot of guys back there who can do it, and [Wilson]’s going to keep getting better.”
Walks and blown leads have become a staple of the bullpen thus far and even when the offense does put up runs, the relievers have found a way to give them back. The Dodgers have struggled in one-run and extra-inning games and much of the blame has been placed on the bullpen.
Chris Withrow and Brandon League have been some of the bright spots so far and 2014 has started much like 2013 did. Mattingly can only hope that the bullpen can turn it around much like they did last season, as they were instrumental in the Dodgers’ climb from last place to first place. While many of the relievers have had their shining moments, they have also not been consistent and have made it hard for the manager to trust them in a tight game.
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