Right-hander Yimi Garcia was the biggest bright spot of the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen through the first month of the season.
In his first 14 appearances, Garcia allowed just one run while striking out 23 and walking just four. He did not allow a single home run in those 14.1 innings; however, since then he’s allowed six earned runs (three home runs) and has walked three in five appearances (3.2 innings). Garcia was being used in a closer-type role, but his two blown saves coincided with the return of Kenley Jansen, putting him back in a normal reliever role.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, manager Don Mattingly believes the issue comes with Garcia’s command:
I think he’s trying to make pitches but he’s putting the ball in spots where he doesn’t want to go,” Mattingly said. “You make mistakes, you pay. I don’t know about the one tonight but the other ones were balls that got to where you don’t want to get to. This is the big leagues. You make mistakes, guys make you pay.”
This is the first time that the right-hander has struggled in his limited big-league action. He came up last season in September and allowed just two runs in 10 innings. That was followed by a spring in which he allowed just one run that put him on the Dodgers roster to start the year. Garcia has appeared in 19 of the team’s first 39 games, meaning he could be dealing with a bit of fatigue.
The Dodgers will need Garcia to get back into his early-season groove in order to stabilize a bullpen that is still down three relievers (Joel Peralta, Pedro Baez, Brandon League).
Don Mattingly Says Dodgers Bullpen Won’t Have Set Roles