Last season, a pair of young flame-throwers were promoted to the Los Angeles Dodgers and played a factor in helping the team go from last place to first place.
Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez took over for Matt Guerrier and Peter Moylan in the middle of the season and became valuable assets in the later innings. This season, the Dodgers have another pair of hard-throwing right-handers that are making an impact down the stretch.
According to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times, Dodger manager Don Mattingly said the two could have a shot at the postseason roster:
Well, it could,” Mattingly said. “I don’t ever know what happens from here to there. And they’ve been pitching good. I think they’ve been throwing the ball well, both of those kids.”
Baez, a converted third baseman, has a 1.96 ERA in 18.1 innings this season and has begun to pitch in key situations. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with ease to go along with a slider. His career path is similar to that of closer Kenley Jansen, who was converted from a catcher to a pitcher. Frias has a 3.63 ERA in 22.1 innings, six of those innings coming in a start against the Washington Nationals.
Mattingly believes Frias will find a home in the bullpen, not starting the game:
We said he may be a guy who helps us in the middle innings,” Mattingly said. “A guy with power stuff and movement, and we’ve been kind of searching to clean those innings up.”
Frias pitched the seventh and eighth innings of Sunday’s victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks and could find himself in that situation more often. Last year, the Dodgers faced a St. Louis Cardinals team that featured a few young flame-throwers who neutralized the Dodger offense.
The Dodgers could decide to try and replicate that bullpen with Baez and Frias in the later innings leading to Jansen in the ninth.
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