Despite having one of the better win/loss records in the National League, the Dodgers have some problems. One of the most glaring problems being the bullpen which has been among the worst in baseball all season. Keen eyed fans will notice that the team doesn’t have a dedicated closer this year, meaning that Dave Roberts doesn’t have a 9th inning guy for the first time in his managerial career.
The long-time Dodger manager seems to have some mixed feelings on that. Noting that the idea of closer is overblown in one breath while admitting things have been a struggle overall for him and the team this season.
“I think it has [been more challenging]. Whether it’s a dedicated closer or a high leverage arm that you’re missing in Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, it’s changed the dynamic. That’s just kind of the nature of this game and what it does is it gives opportunities to guys and then you see what you have. … We’re hoping to get Huddy back in a couple weeks but in the mean time we’re still evaluating.”Via SNLA
Without a dedicated closer, pitcher’s roles in the bullpen have been less clear cut. Evan Phillips leads the team with 8 saves but also has pitched as early as the 5th inning this season. Brusdar Graterol is second with 3 saves and a few others have mixed in with twos and ones. You could argue that less clear cut roles — or innings — have affected some arms in the Dodger bullpen.
Roberts is a little less certain of that.
“I think there is a little bit of too much emphasis on the dedicated closer,” Roberts said on Saturday. “There were a lot of people calling for (Craig) Kimbrel to be gone last year … and having a dedicated closer, saying it wasn’t helpful to our ‘pen.
“You have to peel back individual performance. And I think that individually, guys are not pitching to their capabilities.”Via OC Register
Whatever the issue, it seemed to have reached a boiling point for Roberts this week when he threw just about everyone under the bus after Caleb Furguson melted down in Cincinnati. Doc has since backed down from that level of frustration but it still warrants a high level of concern for the manager. The Dodgers have 12 losses out of the bullpen, tied for 11th most in baseball and among the worst of teams with actual World Series hopes.
There’s hope that help is on the way in the form of injured pitchers returning from the IL, but we’re still weeks away from that.