Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers started their series against the Houston Astros with a in that came in part to another strong showing from the bullpen, of which Michael Grove contributed in.
Following another terrific start from rookie Emmet Sheehan in which he allowed two earned runs over six strong innings, manager Dave Roberts called on Grove as the first option out of the Dodgers bullpen.
The 26-year-old rejoined the Dodgers roster last week, and heading into Friday, had allowed 12 earned runs on 18 hits in his last 14 innings pitched.
When Grove was recalled, it was with an expectation to start in the finale of the Freeway Series. Then he appeared to be a bulk option when Brusdar Graterol was announced as an opener, but the Dodgers went with a more traditional bullpen game and it left Grove’s outlook in some flux.
Grove nevertheless responded by tossing two scoreless innings against the Astros. “It was great,” he said of the relief appearance.
“First time coming out of the ‘pen like that, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, how I’d feel, and the nerves and all that kind of stuff. It’s nice to get the first outing and go from there.
“These guys go through it in the backend of the bullpen. Happened to build a sweat up out there, then the gates open and it’s definitely a rush. It’s something I’ve never experienced before.”
The game was Grove’s first time pitching in eight days.
“It’s kind of a mental thing more than a physical thing,” he said of navigating the uncertainty with his role. “I’m on seven days (rest) now, so I feel fine.
“I don’t have a ton of experience doing it, so just do my best to focus in on what part of the order we’re in and what pitch I’m going to throw to each guy that way it’s easy enough once you get in there.”
Roberts said Grove won’t pitch again until Wednesday, when he’ll be the “bulk” option.
How Michael Grove can help Dodgers bullpen
As the Dodgers bullpen continue to find their rhythm, Grove may find himself taking on a new role.
His fastball, which recently saw an increase in velocity, can further play up in shortened outings and benefit from Grove’s slider coming off of it in the same tunnel.
Although a starter by trade, Grove is willing to take on the new venture.
“I don’t know if I can even wrap my head around it,” he said of the adrenaline rush that comes with pitching in high-leverage situations out of the bullpen. “But I’ll do whatever we need to get a win.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!