Bullpen is a Heart Attack, Dodgers offense is great


April 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) and relief pitcher Juan Nicasio (12) celebrate the 7-0 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

W- Kershaw (2-2) L- Eddie Butler (2-4) S- Nicasio (1) HR- Rollins (4)

51 Innings Pitched. 24 Earned Runs Allowed. Clayton Kershaw. Tonight highlighted just how frustrating 2015 has been for him, his final line read 6.2 innings pitched, 4 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts, and a 4.05 ERA. He wasn’t able to get the outs when he needed, but this is all speaking in reference to the best pitcher in the planet, the best pitcher on the planet should get timely outs, and that hasn’t happened yet.

Anyways, that’s about all that should be said about Kershaw, he still has a 2.71 FIP, and an even lower xFIP, and there are literally 8 other players at any given time on the field! Plus the end result wasn’t even an issue, The most important thing might have been Jimmy Rollins sudden emergence, he went ¾ with a first inning dinger, and getting good production from someone who’s going to bat second as long as he’s in the lineup is always a positive. Justin Turner continued his barrage on BABIP, going 2/4 with a double, driving in 2 runs. If you’re counting, that’s a 175 wRC+, and honestly? He’s looking more and more like one of the better non roster signees in history. Thanks Ned! In all seriousness, Hector Olivera’s deal is going to be finalized soon and it will be interesting to see if he is the odd man out.

Thankfully Kershaw pitched into the 7th inning, and for a bullpen that has been hilariously overworked recently (more on that tomorrow), eliminating an inning of work is crucial. So in the 7th, Kershaw allowed a leadoff single to Carlos Gonzalez, and after a quick groundout and strikeout, potential worst person ever and LSU grad DJ Lemahieu ruined the shutout. The bleeding didn’t stop there, and after the bases were loaded by Paco Rodriguez, grit master Daniel Descalso doubled in 3 runs. The bullpen was going to regress, of course it was, but the issue is it coming down within a 3 game span.

And despite all of this, Kenley Jansen who was activated today continues to be amazing. He was dominant, striking out 4 (!) in a single inning, only allowing Gonzalez to reach after a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal who had a difficult game. He said earlier today that he only needs one inning to be ready to close games again, and thank god for that because having the 9th on total lockdown would be amazing after the past few games.

It is truly amazing how the team is persevering through the injuries, (in case you haven’t noticed, Andre Ethier is now hitting a heavy .330! It’s truly great to be continually wrong about him.

So after the Dodgers went down quietly in the 8th, the 9th inning happened. Adam Liberatore, relief ace that the Dodgers acquired form the Rays in the offseason was brought on to close things out, and things started off smoothly with a strikeout. And THAT’S where the stress began. He allowed 2 hits back to back, and it might be the last time we type this this season, but the 9th was in absolute turmoil. Continuing on with the idea that matchups matter, Mattingly went with Juan Nicasio (who has been absolutely sublime) struck out Nolan Arenado to bring up Wilin Rosario, vying for the golden sombrero and with runners on 2nd and 3rd, he got Rosario to strike out and end the game.

It was a game of extremes, and the Dodgers got through it THANKFULLY because blowing 3 straight games would have been terrible.