Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen uncharacteristically has been a weak point for the team throughout much of the 2023 season, and those struggles resurfaced in Saturday’s 8-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.
After Michael Grove struck out four of five batters faced as an opener, Ryan Yabrough allowed just one run over 4.1 innings pitched in his Dodgers debut. Brusdar Graterol followed Yarbrough with 1.1 scoreless innings.
L.A. took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, only for Yency Almonte to begin an implosion by allowing the Padres to load the bases with one out on a single and two walks.
When asked about the Dodgers bullpen hierarchy and where Almonte ranks, manager Dave Roberts said how relief pitchers perform will decide roles, via SportsNet LA:
“I think it’s pretty easy in my chair. You give guys opportunities, and they play themselves into their own roles. We’ll just leave it at that.”
Roberts went on to add the Dodgers bullpen can’t only rely on Ryan Brasier, Graterol or Evan Phillips, who have been relatively consistent performers this year:
“With guys like Evan (Phillips), Brusdar (Graterol), (Ryan) Brasier, you’ve got to be mindful of their workload. So when you have a guy (Almonte) that’s fresh and feel like it’s a great lane for him, it’s up to those guys to do their job too. You can’t throw Evan in seventh or eighth inning every night, you can’t throw Brasier every night, and Graterol the same. I felt good about everyone going out there. We’ve got to do the job.”
Caleb Ferguson inherited the bases-loaded jam and induced Juan Soto into a weakly hit chopper that Kiké Hernández committed a throwing error on his attempt at a difficult play. Hernández’s ill-advised throw not only got by Freddie Freeman, it rolled into the Padres’ dugout and thus allowed two runs to score.
Ferguson went on to retire only one of seven batters faced before exiting with the Dodgers trailing 8-3.
Almonte now owns a 5.36 ERA this season as he’s been unable to consistently replicate last year’s success as a high-leverage option. Considering his struggles, the addition of Joe Kelly, Graterol’s standing and Brasier’s emergence, Almonte doesn’t figure to receive many more late-inning chances moving forward.
Dodgers bullpen stats
Entering play Sunday, the Dodgers bullpen has a 4.16 ERA that ranks 17th overall. The group’s 1.31 WHIP is middle of the pack at 15th.
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