Bullpen Woes Are Becoming an Issue For the Dodgers

As any team, the Dodgers success, or lack thereof, depends largely at the hands of the bullpen. The teams with the best bullpen ERA, the Diamondbacks, Astros, Yankees, Brewers and Red Sox, all lie towards the top of their respective divisions.

Through late May and most of June the Dodger bullpen carried the team as the starting rotation dealt with injuries. They made three starts and dominated for the most part, even winning bullpen of the week earlier in June.

In recent weeks though, it appears that the wear and tear is catching up to the bullpen. In their four game series against the Cubs, the bullpen posted a 12.75 ERA. In Friday’s contest against the Rockies, the bullpen allowed two home runs, despite working only two innings.

The Dodgers lack a dependable arm to bridge the gap between the starters and Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning. While Jansen has been lights out, the middle relievers have been shaky of late.

Middle Relievers

Scott Alexander (1-0, 4.04 ERA, 35.2 IP)

Mar 31, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Alexander (75) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Sinkerballer Scott Alexander remains the Dodgers closest option to a setup man. He has been  a ground ball machine but has yet to find consistency this season. He has allowed two hits

in each of his last three appearances.

Daniel Hudson (2-2, 3.66 ERA, 32 IP)

A low risk, high reward player, the Dodgers were hoping to find the next Brandon Morrow in Daniel Hudson. Hudson started the season shaky but has picked up his production lately, posting a 0.60 ERA in June. Trust in Hudson late in games is still a question as he has not thrown in many high leverage situations this year.

Erik Goeddel  (3-0, 3.16 ERA, 25.2 IP)

Erik Goeddel looked unhittable when the Dodgers first picked him up from Seattle. Goeddel has struggled in his last four outings allowing eight runs in that span. His ERA has risen from 0.42 to 3.16.

Edward Paredes (2-0, 3.86 ERA, 7 IP)

Speaking of rising ERA, lefty specialist Edward Paredes saw his ERA go from 0.00 to 3.86 after allowing three runs to the Cubs. Other than his rough outing against the Cubs, Paredes has pitched well, allowing just four hits in seven innings this year. With that said, he is a mere specialist and has not been put in a position to handle a setup role.

Yimi Garcia (1-2, 5.00 ERA, 18 IP)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After missing 2017 to Tommy John surgery, Yimi Garcia has not looked right. He has allowed five home runs this year and 43% of inherited runners to score.

Caleb Ferguson (1-1, 5.40 ERA, 16.2 IP)

With the Dodgers back to a healthy rotation, rookie Caleb Ferguson moved the the bullpen. He is not overpowering but looks more and more comfortable each time he takes the mound.

JT Chargois (2-1, 4.76 ERA, 17 IP)

With Walker Buehler optioned to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, the Dodgers recalled JT Chargois. In his stint with the big league club earlier this year, Chargois dominated in his first 15 appearances, posting a 1.35 ERA. In his last five appearance, he struggled with a 17.18 ERA. In triple-a, Chargois returned to his efficient ways, posting a 1.80 ERA in Oklahoma City.


With Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani and Josh Fields on the disabled list, the Dodgers are hoping their current relieving corps will pick up its production. While it is too soon to hit the panic button, the bullpen has become a major point of concern over the past week. The trade deadline is a month away, so if the struggles continue, it would not be a surprise to see the front office look to fix their bullpen via a trade.

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Arthur Cribbs

Arthur Cribbs is a journalism student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is a lifelong Dodgers fan and when he is not at school, he resides in Los Angeles.


  1. “Bullpen woes” is an understatement and the same old story with this team. In the last 3 games in the recent Cub series, the starters left with a lead, only to have the bullpen give it away. Main culprits: Garcia and Goedell. Buehler gets a pass in the final game, coming off the DL.
    Until management gets another consistently good reliever, we will struggle to keep pace and squander good starting pitching

  2. The Dodgers hit 50 + homers in June. I’m really curious how many of them were solo shots? With all the .230 and .240 hitters in the lineup it’s no wonder they don’t have any clutch hitters. Even Matt Kemp is starting to look like Logan Forsythe.

  3. Hudson last 7 appearances 10.1innings 1 earned run. His location and changing speed has been excellent. Here’s Kenleys setup man.

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