As the season winds down to the final stretch, the Los Angeles Dodgers have improved several aspects of their game, including more consistency out of their bullpen. A huge part of that improved effort has come from the revitalized effort of reliever Chris Hatcher.
Heading into the season, Hatcher, who was acquired in the Dee Gordon trade, was expected to be the setup man to Kenley Jansen. Once Jansen went down, Hatcher was tabbed to be the temporary replacement. In 18.1 innings of work the right-hander posted an inflated 6.38 ERA and his struggles and a strained oblique led to a trip to the disabled list on June 17.
Hatcher was reactivated last month and has since been steadily improving and progressing with the club. Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly echoed this sentiment stating Hatcher has been doing well.
“Hatcher has pitched well since he’s come back,” Mattingly said. “You’ve kind of seen over the last probably week he’s had the eighth-inning situation, and then the one game he got a chance for a save. He’s pitched himself into that spot.”
In the last month alone, 12 appearances, Hatcher’s progress is evident. He has gone 11.2 innings, earned a save, and put together a 1.54 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP. Although Hatcher had his struggles this season Mattingly never lost confidence in his reliever and now Hatcher is building some confidence of his own.
“He seems really confident and he’s having success,” said Mattingly. “I think his confidence is growing. One thing we have seen since he’s been back from the injury is he’s piecing his pitches together differently. His mix is different, he’s learned a little bit about using his pitches.”
The consistency and balance in his pitches have helped Hatcher become a solid option coming out of the bullpen and have also helped his numbers. On the year, Hatcher now has a record of 2-5 to go along with a 4.05 ERA, a 3.36 FIP and a 1.26 WHIP.