The Dodgers relief corps has been under fire during much of the Dodgers rough patch. Almost blowing a 13-run lead on Saturday in Anaheim didn’t help matters. On top of not producing outs, the bullpen has been unable to neutralize the opposing team’s run game on any given night. Dodgers catcher Will Smith noted that it’s been a point of emphasis with the relievers.
Smith had this to say when asked about what adjustments are being made:
“There’s definitely stuff we can do. We can mix times to the plate. We can get them quicker. We can slide step. We can pick over more and not be as predictable with picks.”
To Smith’s point, there seems to be little surprise from baserunners on throws to first from Dodger pitchers. Any pickoff attempt appears to be robotic and most importantly, completely ineffective.
Smith and Barnes By the Numbers
Through Monday, Los Angeles leads the league in stolen bases allowed with 38. For greater context, that’s 10 more than the next-worst team, the aforementioned Anaheim Angels. Smith, Barnes, and the Dodger relievers have collectively yielded 24 of the 38 steals.
In that same timeframe, 81% (21/26) of stolen base attempts have been successful with Smith behind the plate. Barnes sports the same percentage of 81% (17/21). Perhaps it’s a gesture of positional camaraderie?
Joking aside, the Dodgers catchers and pitchers simply have to do better at holding runners on. Giving away second base, or even third, will continue to doom the Dodgers late in games.
For those who prefer advanced metrics, Smith (-0.5) and Barnes (-0.1) are also both below league average in Base Running Runs Above Average.
That being said, addressing the issue is a two-way street. Smith reiterated that all parties involved are well aware of the problem.
“It’s a conversation we’re constantly having with pitchers. We’re trying to fix that.”