With pitcher Daniel Hudson on track to potentially return to the major leagues this weekend, the Dodger bullpen will gain a reliable arm that is a proven closer. In just 24.1 innings before tearing his ACL, Hudson held a 2.22 ERA, 5 saves and 9 holds for LA last season.
Many teams would welcome Hudson back and plug him right in as their closer. However, the Dodgers already have one of the league’s best in Evan Phillips. With a 1.97 ERA and 11 saves in 32 innings, Phillips has proven his consistency among a bullpen that has developed a reputation for being inconsistent. Dodgers broadcaster Jose Mota told Dodgers Nation’s own Doug McKain that he believes Phillips has cemented his role as LA’s closer.
“I do not expect (Daniel Hudson) to come out and take Evan Phillips’ job. I think he’s gonna be a guy that you have to go to in high pressure situations, high leverage situations. You don’t want to waste an arm like that in the sixth inning, no matter what the situation calls for. But I think it’s gonna give you the luxury of saying, ‘okay, if I go Phillips back-to-back nights, guess what, I have Daniel Hudson.”Via Dodgers Nation TV
The oft-maligned Dodger bullpen has bottom-five team ERA, and adding Hudson to the mix will certainly bolster both their ERA and their reputation with Dodger fans. The four teams with a worse bullpen ERA than the Dodgers are not even sniffing the playoffs, and are company that the Dodgers should not be complacent with keeping.
But don’t tell Mota that LA doesn’t have a closer.
“There’s a closer here. His name is Evan Phillips,” Mota said. “You have to save a guy like Phillips for the ninth inning.”
Hudson looked really good in all his rebab outings, and is finally ready to rejoin this Dodgers team. He’s expected to be activated on Friday, ahead of the Dodgers’ series opener against the Royals in Kansas City.
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