Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
With MLB allowing for 30 players through the first two weeks of the 2020 regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers included 16 pitchers on their Opening Day roster. Among those were 11 relief pitchers, including Dennis Santana.
It marked the first time in Santana’s young career he was part of an Opening Day roster. The 24-year-old once was a rising prospect in the Dodgers organization and made his MLB debut in 2018. However, he was placed on the injured list shortly after because of rotator cuff trouble.
Santana avoided surgery but wasn’t his usual self last season in three appearances for the Dodgers and time with Triple-A Oklahoma City. But he was among the standouts during Spring Training and Summer Camp.
Santana built on against the Houston Astros, logging 2.1 innings and collecting four strikeouts on Wednesday to earn a win as the Dodgers complete a sweep at Minute Maid Park. “I just kept calm, focused on the pitch the catcher called and made it happen. Aggressive every time,” Santana said of his performance.
On top of pitching with the game on the line, Santana got to experience the extra-innings rule that MLB has implemented for this season. “It’s difficult, because you’ve got a man on second and then you have the hitter,” he said.
“You need to focus on the hitter and pay attention to the man on second. Just focus on the hitter first, then look out to second, make him stop, and then go with the hitter.”
Santana said acting manager Bob Geren sticking with him to finish the game gave him “100% confidence” and added, “That meant a lot to me. In that situation, a man on second, those hitters are pretty good. I feel great and blessed.”
Dodgers bullpen shining
The Dodgers’ bullpen has been a strongpoint through six games, as the unit has completed 31.2 innings with a 1.14 ERA, 2.28 FIP and 9.09 strikeouts per nine.
Jake McGee, Dylan Floro, Pedro Baez, Caleb Ferguson, Blake Treinen, Kenley Jansen and Scott Alexander also pitched in Wednesday’s win. Joe Kelly, who is appealing an eight-game suspension, was said to be available, but it’s possible manager Dave Roberts didn’t want to tip his hand.
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