Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been a continued area of weakness for the team this season, and in particular during the month of June.
As a result, the Dodgers took the field against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night having yet to win a series this month. Included in that span was three walk-off losses during a 2-4 road trip, and the bullpen failing to protect a late lead in their 8-4 loss to the White Sox after the Dodgers rallied.
Manager Dave Roberts had sharp criticism for the bullpen, but reiterated he would continue to stick with his struggling relief pitchers. Roberts was rewarded for his confidence the next night as the Dodgers’ bullpen combined for six shutout innings in a 5-4 walk-off win.
“I think the difference tonight was the bullpen. You look at those guys and how they covered six innings, and to not give up a run, was pretty remarkable,” Roberts said. “Every single one of those of guys. Really proud of them and how they responded.”
Michael Grove pitched just five innings and exited with the Dodgers trailing 4-0 due to allowing four solo home runs. Shelby Miller, in his first appearance since returning from the bereavement list and also dealing with neck stiffness, allowed just one hit and issued a walk over two innings.
Yency Almonte then got a bit of redemption against the same batters he gave up homers to on Wednesday night by completing a perfect eighth inning to keep the game tied.
Evan Phillips followed suit in the ninth and worked through some traffic in the 10th inning. It was the fourth time in 27 appearances this season that Phillips completed more than one inning.
Caleb Ferguson continued the scoreless string in the 11th inning and was credited with the win when Freddie Freeman hit his walk-off single.
“Evan giving us two innings was huge, Caleb, Yency came back after last night and threw up a clean inning with really good stuff,” Roberts said. “And Shelby, what he did for us coming off bereavement was huge. Really good night out of the ‘pen. With our offense, just kept grinding and hanging in there until that four-run inning. We hung in there.”
Roberts: Dodgers ‘needed’ win
Had the Dodgers dropped the rubber match to the White Sox it would’ve represented their fourth series loss of the month and kept them three games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the National League West.
Instead, the team is hopeful the walk-off win will serve as a springboard heading into matchups with San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros.
“It was big. We were sort of exhausting all of our options tonight. We needed a win,” Roberts said.
“They were fighting as well, but you could see our guys not quitting. Having Evan go two innings and all that stuff, having to sell out tonight, it should show how much we needed that one.”
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