As the Dodgers ended up on the losing end of a pitcher’s duel in New York on Saturday night, questions once again surfaced about the up and down LA bullpen. After 7 shutout innings from Hyun-Jin Ryu in his first start in 10 days, the bullpen came on in the 8th inning and was wobbly at best.
3 pitchers combined to record 3 outs, but 3 runs were also surrendered on two hit batters, a walk, and a pinch-hit, base clearing double off the bat of Rajai Davis.
After the game, Dave Roberts didn’t mince words when it came to he bullpen’s effort.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) September 15, 2019
We just didn’t pitch well in the 8th.
Adam Kolarek opened the inning and got his lone batter Robinson Cano on a strikeout. Roberts then turned to Joe Kelly — appearing in his 3rd contest in 4 days — who came in to hit a batter and strike out a batter before giving way to Julio Urias. Urias hit a batter, walked a batter to load the bases, and gave up the game-winning pinch-hit double to saddle Kelly with the loss.
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The concern for Dodgers Nation turned to the fact that the arms appearing in the 8th inning are lined up to be the go-to arms for Los Angeles in October, and I shared this thought on Twitter.
Not sure I'd call it overmanaging, but we felt a little worried about the matchups in the 8th.
Most worrisome is that these are 3 of the guys LA is supposed to rely on in October.
— Clint Pasillas (@realFRG) September 15, 2019
Moreover, the LA bullpen earned its 23rd loss of the season and is tied for 2nd worst in IS% — inherited runners scoring percentage — with 39%. While the bullpen has been much better than it was early in the season (2nd best in MLB since June 1 with a 3.50 ERA), it remains the biggest question mark for the World Series contending Dodgers.
12 games remain in the regular season.