The Dodger Bullpen: Renewed Faith

Did my eyes deceive me ? Did I really watch the Dodgers bullpen pitch four innings of scoreless baseball in October ? For the love of humanity, what in the world is going on here ?

My eyes didn’t play tricks. In fact the Dodger bullpen did on Friday what they have been doing all year…….getting outs.

I personally don’t know anyone who has been more critical of the Dodgers bullpen over the last few years than yours truly. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Go out, watch your starter bust his tail for 6 or 7 innings only to see some slinger out of pen cough it up. The losses over the years, especially in big post-season games have been crippling.

During the 2014 and 2015 winter meetings I watched from afar as the Dodger front office didn’t appear to make the adequate moves to strengthen what I perceived as a significant weakness. I gotta give it to Friedman and company, their gambles on the Joe Blanton”s and Grant Dayton’s of the world have paid off.

Those critical of my evaluation can rightly point out that the Dodgers have made attempts at strengthening the pen over the years only be continually re-buffed. In 2014 it was the winter meetings of Andrew Miller. The Dodgers never made a serious offer ( still a mistake in my opinion) But, Friedman had just taken over and was evaluating the farm and roster and may have not been as prepared to jump into the deep end of the pool. The Dodgers also apparently made the largest offer to Luke Gregerson who turned them down to go to the Astros.

During the 2015 winter meetings they made overtures toward Baltimore’s Darren O’Day. Reports indicate they offered him more money than the Orioles, yet O’Day stayed with the Birds. Then the Dodgers had a deal in place for Aroldis Chapman before his domestic violence charge hit the streets, and rightfully so the Dodgers backed out.

In Game 1 on Friday the Dodgers got two-thirds of an inning scoreless from the re-born Joe Blanton. They got two-thirds scoreless from Grant Dayton. They got one full inning of scoreless baseball from Pedro Baez. This might be the most surprising of them all after Baez had given up back-breaking game-winning hits to the Cardinals and the Mets in Game 1 of both the 2014 and 2015 National League Divisional Series. I literally couldn’t watch when Baez came into the game yesterday….

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My television set turned off during Game 1 of the National League Division Series when the Dodgers brought in Pedro Baez

The Dodgers then got an inning and two-thirds from closer extraordinaire Kenley Jansen. That is four innings of shut-out baseball.

This is a strength now that was a complete and total weakness in year’s past. One of the primary reasons the Dodgers are in this position today is because of the productivity of that bullpen. Dodger faithful will tell you without this bullpen eating up innings as starter-after-starter went down with injury, then the Boys in Blue are not in this position. During the Giants second-half meltdown as their pen was coughing up 8th and 9th inning leads, the Dodgers were taking games over in the 5th and 6th innings and pitching the club to victory. So many arms and so much production. The Dodger pen has been the back-bone of this team. Give the Giants the Dodgers bullpen, they don’t cough up an 8.5 game lead……#Truth

They could struggle from this point forward, that is entirely possible, but based on what they have done this year, I can’t blame them as I have in the past for not getting the job done. The Dodgers bullpen has been a pleasant surprise. It’s a surprise that Dodger fans are more than willing to embrace.

As Always Bleeding Dodger Blue

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