The Dodgers bullpen hasn’t been quite as dominant as it has in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some standout performances throughout the season. One player that is starting to pile up such outings is reliever Alex Vesia.
In a critical 6th inning against the Angels on Saturday night, Dave Roberts went to Alex Vesia to keep the deficit at one. He did just that, striking out the side on just 13 pitches and providing some confidence for the ball club, who went on to win the game without allowing another run.
After the game, Roberts was asked about what he saw in Vesia that has finally allowed him to flourish. The Dodgers’ skipper didn’t think it was any major changes, but rather the simple things that have allowed the reliever to settle in as a major leaguer.
It’s his third go at this as far as going up and down [to the minors], and I think he’s just comfortable [now]. There’s always that transition in getting to know your teammates and the surroundings.. I think he’s just very comfortable right now, very confident. He’s working really hard, he’s focused. And the pitching guys, I think the catchers have done a fantastic job with him. Alex has been pretty big for us.
Vesia didn’t get off to the best start this season, allowing 7 earned runs through 9 appearances in May. From June through the start of August, however, Alex has only allowed 1 inherited runner to score. He’s brought his ERA down from 6.52 to 3.32 over the last month and is one of the few bullpen pieces that Dave Roberts has been able to rely on consistently. In fact, Vesia has played his way into being one of the team’s go-to late-inning arms in key situations.
I certainly look at him as a leverage guy.
The bullpen has been far less reliable this season compared to previous groups, but they still have the potential to be dominant on any given night. Alex Vesia was not a guy that fans may have expected to be in these situations at the beginning of the season, but he’s proved to be critical to this team’s success.