With the postseason less than one week away, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of finalizing their final few bullpen roster spots ahead of beginning the National League Division Series.
One pitcher who has certainly been making his case in recent weeks is rookie Dustin May. The right-hander has tossed nine shutout innings while allowing just five hits with 13 strikeouts and one walk in his last seven outings out of the bullpen.
Included in that is back-to-back dominant appearances against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. It marked the first time May pitched on consecutive days, although he did not show any signs of fatigue as his fastball touched 99 mph in both outings and he struck out a combined four batters in two perfect innings.
May knows that he is on the bubble for a postseason roster spot, and he hopes that he has done enough to be able to help out his team in October. “I hope so,” May said. “It’s not up to me but I hope so, for sure.”
The 21-year-old has been a starting pitcher basically his entire life, so making the move to the bullpen could not have easy. He allowed a combined seven runs in 2.1 innings in his first two relief appearances.
He doesn’t think he ever had a problem pitching in an unconventional bullpen role but admitted that his pitch execution is improving with each outing.
“I was pretty comfortable from the get-go, just execution wasn’t great,” May explained. “So I guess the more outings, the more execution is probably the best thing.”
The main difference between starting and relief pitchers is their pregame routine. Starters have as much time as they require to get ready, while relievers are only able to throw a handful of pitches before needing to go get important outs, often late in games after sitting around for a couple of hours.
May doesn’t feel that change was the reason for his struggles when he first started relieving, though. “It hadn’t bothered me,” he said. “I feel like I’ve done a decent enough job getting ready and getting prepared.”
There is no denying the talent that May possesses, making for a bright future in the Dodgers organization. It is good to see him adjusting to his current role though and he could wind up being a huge weapon for Los Angeles this October if his stuff continues to play up the way it has in recent weeks.