Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Evan Phillips Is Trying to Find the Positives in the Bullpen’s Struggles

It hasn’t been a season of the usual for the Dodgers.

It’s been a struggle in the back end of games for the Dodgers — and “struggle” is perhaps too mild of a description for their issues.

Aside from Sunday afternoon, when the Dodgers bullpen put up 3.1 scoreless innings against the San Francisco Giants, this season has been a year where the bullpen is a glaring weakness.

As of Monday, the unit is statistically second-worst in the majors even with Sunday’s effort, with a 5.04 ERA collectively.

Evan Phillips has been one of the rare bright spots for the group, posting a 2.28 ERA over 28 appearances this season, part of them coming in the team’s makeshift closer role.

And Phillips is trying to look on the bright side through the bullpen’s collective issues this season, as he told Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s pretty clear the whole group is pretty frustrated with the results we’ve been getting,” Phillips said. “But better now than later in the year. I think it’s good for us to struggle and learn from these things right now, and hopefully correct it quickly.”

via Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times

Phillips is correct when he says it’s better to have issues now — in mid-June and not lagging too far behind the NL West pack as opposed to September and potentially October — but it’s a problem that the team will need to fix now, or risk digging a hole that’s too steep to climb out of.

The Dodgers are four games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in their division after seeing their record in June fall to 5-10, a mark far below their usual standards.

Granted, there’s ebbs and flows over the course of a 162-game MLB season, but the Dodgers face an obstacle now that will be a big determining factor in whether they ultimately find success or look back at failure this season.

And Dodgers’ Director of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman recognizes the need to fix the problem at hand.

“Our guys are, for the most part, the same, with really good stuff in place,” Friedman said. “So we’ve just got to figure out with each guy, how to organize it better from pitch selection to execution.”

via Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times

It remains to be seen whether Friedman will stand pat with the reinforcements already in the organization or try to improve matters via the trade market, but the thing that remains crystal clear is that the Dodgers must fix their biggest problem as soon as they possibly can.

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Matt Wagner

Matt Wagner was born and raised in southern California, and he lived there before moving to Colorado and getting his B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2022. He relocated back to southern California in 2023 and is looking forward to covering the Dodgers again here at Dodgers Nation. Some of his past work is in Bleacher Report, Dodgers Tailgate, and, most recently, Colorado Buffaloes Wire. Aside from writing, you can probably catch him petting the nearest dog or eating some good Mexican food.

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