UPDATE (Sept. 21, 9:20 a.m.): According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is hopeful Jamey Wright can pitch three innings:
Mattingly hopes Wright can go 50 pitches or three innings.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) September 21, 2014
Only twice this season has Wright gone three innings and his highest pitch count 48, which came in one of his three-inning outings.
For a team that’s built on pitching — particularly of the starting variety — to be set for a game in which the bullpen will carry the load, is an interesting scenario, to say the least.
Jamey Wright will take the mound Sunday in the finale of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ four-game series with the Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers, who won the first two meetings and led until the eighth inning of Saturday’s game, will rely on Wright to get them started on a positive note.
Making his first start since 2012, Wright said he’s willing to pitch as long as needed and will put his best foot forward, according to the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett:
I’m going one pitch at a time,” he said. “I’ll go as far as I can go. I don’t know what they have planned. For all I know, they might have me jotted down for one inning and whatever after that. I’m sure how well I do dictates how long I stay out there, for certain.”
Prior to his lone start in 2012, Wright didn’t make any dating back to 2007 when he was with the Texas Rangers. While it’s been determined Sunday’s game will be the bullpen’s to handle, Wright being able to pitch three or perhaps four innings, would be of benefit.
The Dodgers find themselves in the position of needing to win games in order to clinch the division, while also providing some rest for the bullpen. A Dodger starter has not gone more than five innings since Clayton Kershaw tossed eight frames against the San Francisco Giants Sept. 14.
Using a minimal number of relievers Sunday would help preserve some of the arms for the Dodgers’ three-game series with the Giants that begins Monday.
With Wright taking the ball Sunday, Dan Haren’s start was pushed back one day and though he’s pitched better as of late, the bullpen may again be heavily relied on when the rivals meet at Chavez Ravine.