Results tagged ‘ Bullpen ’
Last time we covered the Starting Pitching and what a break down that was. Now it’s time to move to the Dodgers Bullpen. This has also been a focal point in the off-season outside of Starting Pitching. Dodgers went out and started off with re-signing Brandon League to a 3 year $22.5 Million Dollar Contract but even after that the Dodgers were still looking for left hand pitching which was something they were lacking due to Scott Elbert being out with an elbow injury and Randy Choate signing with St Louis. Los Angeles would go ahead and sign left-handed pitcher JP Howell. This is still a question mark but will the off-season additions as well as call-up’s from last season better the Bullpen? Lets go ahead and break it all down.
2012 Review: Before the start of last season you might as well had held your breath with a Dodger relever came out and yeah I was one of them. The Dodgers biggest question mark was with the bullpen who were indeed of a lot of things. Once the season started the bullpen came out ready to go and were impressing people for the most part. Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen picked up where they left of from the 2011 season and Ronald Belisario came into his own. Scott Elbert and Josh Lindbloom were also solid early on in the season. Could the Bullpen be proving us wrong. Well things kind of went south after as the season went, Injuries hit, Inconsistent play, blown saves you name it. Javy Guerra lost his starting spot due to inconsistency, Jamie Wright and Matt Guerrier were adding more fuel to the fire in games, and not to mention that Kenley Jansen (irregular heart beat) and Scott Elbert (elbow) fell to injuries that hurt the Dodgers through the mid-point of the season. Things did have an upside though through Trades and call-ups. The Bullpen saw call-ups of Shawn Tolleson and Paco Rodriguez and the Dodgers acquiring Randy Choate and Brandon League in deals to help the bullpen. Josh Lindbloom would be traded to the Phillies in a deal that brought Shane Vctorino. After all the moves it wasn’t enough to provide the lift the Dodgers needed to reach the post-season. The Dodgers Bullpen ERA wise was Top 3 in the MLB at 3.35 (2nd in the NL) and 10th in the NL in saves.
Off-Season Moves: Relief pitching was a big thing that needed to be addressed. Outside of Starting pitching you can make a case that this was a important need here. The Dodgers re-signed Brandon League who was solid in 2012 with the Dodgers. In his 28 Games with L.A. He was 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA and had 6 Saves as a closer when Jansen went down to injury. The Dodgers didn’t really do much with it’s signings but they did lose Randy Choate in Free Agency (Signed with St Louis) leaving Los Angeles lacking a lefty out the pen (Elbert and Guerrier injured).
JP Howell- This was pretty much the only key move made to help the Bullpen. Howell, who played with Tampa Bay last season, Was signed to a one year deal with the Dodgers. JP is a solid pick up after losing Randy Choate to Free Agency. A left handed vet is what Howell will bring and with Elbert out this signing was much needed.
3 Questions to be answered:
Starting Pitchers in the Bullpen?- Last post I talked about Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang being involved in trades. While I still believe that It’s not Farfetched that we could see them coming out the bullpen. You can never have too much pitching but with the depth of the Starting rotation there could be some starting pitchers Not Named Kershaw or Greinke that get moved. Ted Lilly already made note that he’ll be willing to moved to the Bullpen so that solves that for the most part.
Will there be consistency?- In baseball there’s 162 games so teams will have bad games BUT the Dodgers bullpen do have a hard time gaining consistency. There’s games where the Bullpen keep the Dodgers in the game and times where they become the “Box of Pain” and it gets painful to watch. If the Dodgers to win the Division ad some then they’ll have to be more consistent. They’ll need it from everyone in there.
Will the closers close?
The Dodgers went through 3-4 closers due to injury or inconsistency. Most of the games the Dodger closers have blown save opportunities. There has to be some consistency there between Jansen or League. Dodgers as a team had 40 Saves which was 18th in the MLB. Los Angeles will have to have more than that if they want to win the Division.
Players to Watch:
Javy Guerra- Last season Javy Guerra was the closer come opening day and was bound to have a good season but few games in Guerra lost it. He started to get inconsistent and soon lost his job to Jansen. Javy was sent to AAA for a little bit but was brought back up and moved as a middle reliever. Most likely Javy will be on the club come opening day as a middle reliever but weather he can keep that consistency has to be seen.
Kenley Jansen- The reason Jansen is on here is because of health. Jansen had an irregular heart beat which sidelined him. Now it’s about how will he pitch after it. Jansen had some issues with consistency last season but wasn’t pitching bad. I do believe that he will have a good season next season but his health is a concern.
Shawn Tolleson- Shawn Tolleson was called up last season for the Phillies series due to the number of injuries that struck the Dodgers at the time. Tolleson tends to get himself into a jam at times but can get himself out. He COULD make the club come opening day but who knows what the Dodgers will think come that time. No doubt we could have an upside.
Overall: The Dodgers bullpen was one if the best in the MLB last season. I believe this group they can repeat that and maybe better but they need to be consistent. They’ll have bad games and slumps but it can be a content things. The Dodgers bullpen have question marks but are also proven.
Next On Deck- Dodgers 2013 Preview: The Infield
The Dodgers currently are one of the top teams in the NL right now on top of the NL West Playing good baseball. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are hot and the Starting Pitching has been unbelievably good. So what’s the problem? Well As I mentioned during Spring Training the Bullpen is the one issue I’m still Worried about. Through this season it seems like we hold our breath when its someone outside of Kenley Jansen, Javi Guerra, and Josh Lindbloom comes out the Pen. Jamey Wright, Scott Elbert, MacDougal, Guerrier makes me sweat every time they get into the game and really that’s not good at all especially in one run games.
Yes I know the offense has to get insurance runs to prevent the worry but the Bullpen also has to play a part to help out instead of hurting. This was a story last year and is still some what of an issue. Can we trust the rest of the Bullpen? The Dodgers can’t rely on Guerra Jansen and Lindbloom every single game. Someone HAS to step up and take some pressure off the team. I’m know we won’t get a constant 1..2..3 Inning but all I ask is to stop giving up the game. With a Defense behind them doing what they can to Keep the Dodgers in the game or ahead should be less difficult.
Like I stated earlier Dodgers should also get some insurance runs to help out the pen and take less pressure off but the Pen should also do what they can to take less pressure off the Batters as well instead of adding to it. Its a long season so there’s time to improve and stay on top so not panic button is needed but there has to be improvement not regression.