March 1st, 2012
Yesterday We looked at the Starting Pitching for the Dodgers and now we move our attention today towards the Bullpen. Last season the Dodger bullpen was entiled the Box of Pain for its late game give aways and Injury problems. Players like Kuo, Broxton, and Padilia were injured for most of the season and others struggled big time to either close or get out of a Jam. Dodgers gave up a lot of games or made games worse through their Bullpen. Then came Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen who became big time fan favorites filling slots that were highly needed at Setup and Closer. Still there were issues within the Bullpen but managed to turn it around in the second half of the season. Off-Seaon not many changes were made to the Bullpen except for the depature of Hong-Chi Kuo, Vicente Padilia, Mike MacDougal, and Johnathan Broxton. Signings came with picking up John Grabow from the Cubs which pretty much indicates that they’ll go younger in the Bullpen. This coming up season theres some question marks on how the Bullpen will play and if they can be consistent with good play.
Questions to be answered: This is a main question that I know everyone will ask, Will the Bullpen stop hurting the Dodgers? In most games the Dodgers Bullpen will either Blow games for the Dodgers when they melt down or Kill the Dodgers in close games and just like you guys I want for it to stop. Last year the Dodgers were a Team with the 3rd most ERA’s in the National League. Another question is will Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra keep up their good play.?Guerra saved 21 games in 23 chances which is really good for a rookie while Kenley Jansen did one heck of a job as the set up man Striking out 96 Batters in 53 Innings.
Less expectations:Last year the Dodgers Relief Pitching had high expectations after having most of its money spent to upgrade the area only to fail below expections. This year the Bullpen will be working under low expection which means less pressure on the players. Will it help remains the question but not many people or scouts will expect the Dodgers bullpen to be a monster out of nowhere. Blake Hawksworth and Matt Guerrier didn’t have the best of years last season whos both ERA’s was pretty high. With season they’re projected to be the Main guys in the Bullpen. If one of them can step up then things may be alright. If one of them fall off look out for Scott Elbert who was in the bullpen last year as well. (2.43 ERA in 2011)
What to watch for in the Spring: The main thing to watch for in the Spring is the play of Hawksworth, Guerrier, and Jansen. Those three play will be crucial for the Dodgers Bullpen. Jansen I believe will only get better while my concern will be with Hawksworth and Guerrier. Also be on the watch for some Non roster guys and Minor league pitchers like the Dodgers first round pick Chris Reed out of stanford who many believe can move through the system quickly.
Overall this Bullpen will not scare opposing batters. With low expectations and huge question marks through the Bullpen it’ll be interesting to see what they can do and if they improve. Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen will have a full season to work with and if the Bullpen can Avoid Injuries then things maybe looking up but thats something that will come to light in the Spring and early season. Mattingley and Honeycut will have time to see what they can do with the Bullpen before the season even starts.