After securing the series win against the Angels in Wednesday night’s 2-0 win, slowly but surely, the Dodgers bullpen are starting to clean themselves up after a rough start to the month of June.
The original starter for the night was supposed to be right-hander Michael Grove, but then the Dodgers went with a bullpen game, and Grove didn’t even up end up pitching at all.
Brusdar Graterol started things off with two hitless innings, before transferring things over to Victor Gonzalez. Then it was Yency Almonte, followed by Alex Vesia, followed by Ryan Brasier making his Dodger debut. Then, Caleb Ferguson got the eighth inning, and Evan Phillips closed things out in the ninth.
The bullpen put up a great fight against Angels ace, Shohei Ohtani, who finished his night allowing one run in 7 innings pitched with 12 strikeouts.
It was a gamble for Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, to double down on the bullpen, but it was one that paid off very well.
“A bullpen game is like a relay race, it’s pass that baton to the next guy,” Roberts said. “Conversely, when one guy is doing well, throws a good inning, the next guy wants to do the same thing. So tonight was picture-perfect.”
Blowing a handful of games in the past few weeks, the bullpen has had a very difficult month of June.
For the relievers, it was time to acknowledge that.
Led by Brusdar Graterol, the Dodgers bullpen got together for a heartfelt conversation about their recent struggles a few days before the trip to Anaheim.
“Guys spoke up and said, ‘Hey, we’re not performing the way we’ve performed in the past, so we need to get back to doing what we know we can do,” Yency Almonte said. “Brusdar set it up. He spoke in Spanish, and I translated for him. [Bullpen coach Josh Bard] spoke up, [Evan] Phillips, [Caleb] Ferguson and myself stepped up to say how we felt.”Via LA Times
Caleb Ferguson chimed in, too.
“It was just opening the floor and let’s talk about how everybody’s feeling,” Ferguson said. “When you’re trying to hold all that in, over the course of 162 games, things can go haywire sometimes.”
There isn’t really any true veteran presence in the bullpen right now with Daniel Hudson injured, but for Graterol to take initiative to recognize the situation and speak out about it speaks levels.
162 games is a lot, and sometimes, even players have to acknowledge that they are human as well. With this kind of leadership, I think it’s safe to say that the boys in blue are going to be alright moving forward.
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