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Dodgers Need Bullpen Help, and Fast

August 12th, 2018 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Every baseball fan knows the situation in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have not won a World Series since 1988, and fans can do the math:

That’s 30 years ago.

The Dodgers owe it to their fans, who lavish a lot of money on one of the richest clubs in Major League Baseball, to push, hard, for a championship each and every year.

But as we head into the final seven weeks of the season, it appears as if management is asleep at the switch, with a major issue that needs resolution, and quickly.

The bullpen.

Don’t think about entering the playoffs without one. A good one, and the Dodgers are nowhere near that, at the moment.

The bullpen has been iffy all season. The Oklahoma City shuttle has been extremely active in ferrying middling relievers back and forth between Chavez Ravine and the club’s Triple-A affiliate.

Few have impressed. Ask fans how comfortable they are when Dave Roberts makes a pitching change.

And the situation just became far more dire because Kenley Jansen, the stalwart closer, could be out five weeks while he receives treatment for an irregular heartbeat.

Who closes? Who knows? It was Scott Alexander two nights ago, and that worked out. It was JT Chargois last night, and that was a Big Fail as he gave up a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Colorado Rockies to a 3-2 victory.

The bullpen issues exist on two levels:

–Getting the team to the postseason. The Dodgers are No. 7 in MLB in runs scored, but their bullpen is unreliable, and with Jansen out … who closes for this team? Who takes the ball in the ninth and seals the deal on games in the dangerously tight NL West?

–Second is identifying the guys who will take the ball from a starting pitcher and hand it over to Jansen, once the playoffs begin. (Assuming the Dodgers, five-time NL West champions, are in them.) A year ago, the Dodgers had a good idea of what their postseason bullpen would look like — Kenta Maeda in there somewhere, Tony Watson, for sure, and Brandon Morrow. It didn’t quite work out, with Morrow struggling in the showdown with Houston, but the Dodgers had a plan. This time, they seem to be approaching this on the fly.

What the club needs is to trade or buy relievers who have been sharp in the recent past. On the closer side, Cincinnati’s Raisel Iglesias has been dependable (23 saves), and it isn’t like the Reds are going anywhere this year. The Dodgers can afford him. Kirby Yates, the San Diego Padres closer, also looks competent, if not as tested as Iglesias, and he also throws for a team out of contention.

Middle relievers the Dodgers may want to look at include another hard thrower on the Padres, Craig Stammen. Or Adam Conley, a set-up guy with the Miami Marlins. Eventually, they may get help here from inside the organization: former elite prospect Julio Urias is getting close to a return from shoulder surgery, and a hard-throwing left-hander would be handy in the seventh or eighth inning of a playoffs game.

The key is, the Dodgers need to move, and fast, to try to clear up the muddle in a bullpen now struggling without its anchor, Jansen.

If this does not get fixed, they will not make the postseason, let alone win it for the first time in 31 seasons.



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