Dave Roberts: Dodgers High-Leverage Relief Pitchers ‘Ready To Go’ For Braves Series

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

While the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen managed to make up for Noah Syndergaard pitching just one inning May 9 before a blister/cut on his right index finger ripped open, the group wasn’t quite as successful in withstanding a string of short outings from starters.

From Monday through Thursday last week, Syndergaard, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May and Julio Urías all failed to pitch more than five innings in their respective outing. Syndergaard’s start wound up being an extra-innings game that saw Phil Bickford set a career high with 48 pitches.

There was hope Clayton Kershaw would help the bullpen reset the following night, but he labored through just four innings against the Minnesota Twins, and only recorded 11 outs in the series finale at Busch Stadium on Sunday.

Despite some of the recent bullpen usage and losing three of four games to the St. Louis Cardinals, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes the team’s high-leverage relief pitchers are in good standing heading into a series against the Atlanta Braves, via SportsNet LA

“It’s kind of the ebbs and flows of pitching. Sometimes the starters are going to pick up the guys in the ‘pen, and other times it works the other way. Right now we’re in one of those things where starters aren’t going deep. I think you’ve got to give credit to this Cardinals team. One through nine, those guys take really good at-bats.

“They grind you, they get the pitch count up. So to ahe a fou-ve game series here, we felt it. The silver lining is if you look at the leverage guys, when you lose three out of four on the road, you can stay away from certain guys. So going into this Atlanta series, I think that guys we use in leverage, they’re all ready to go. But it never feels good to lose a series.”

Dodgers relief pitchers combined to throw 37.1 innings last week, compared to the team receiving just 25.2 innings from their starters.

The usage amounted to the Dodgers rotating pitchers through the roster, with the likes of Dylan Covey, Andre Jackson, Tyler Cyr and Wander Suero joining the team from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Covey has since been designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Dodgers bullpen usage

To Roberts’ point, Caleb Ferguson only made one appearance against the Cardinals — on Friday — and he threw 16 pitches in a scoreless inning.

Victor González also pitched just once over the weekend, but it was a costly appearance as he surrendered a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning.

Brusdar Graterol hasn’t appeared since Friday, when he threw 11 pitches in a scoreless inning.

Shelby Miller pitched twice against the Cardinals, but was limited to six pitches on Sunday as Roberts seemingly aimed to preserve his availability.

Evan Phillips, the Dodgers’ de facto closer, did not face St. Louis and hasn’t appeared in a game since May 17.

Justin Bruihl threw 25 pitches over back-to-back appearances, and figures to be available until Tuesday at the earliest.

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