The Dodgers bullpen has been without a doubt one of the biggest storylines this season. The bullpen leads the NL in ERA (3.02), wins (24) and Batting Average Allowed (.211). Along with those major statistics, the club also has a league leading with a .271 OBP, .631 OPS and 74.51 Save Percentages.
The bullpen has been led by Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez and most recently Brandon Morrow. Throughout the season role pitchers like Josh Fields, Luis Avilan, Ross Stripling and Grant Dayton have all contributed to the success. The bullpen is now compiled of nine different relievers and has now pitched 290 innings this season.
That’s may be a growing concern. We’ve seen Dave Roberts keep starters on a short leash for the greater part of the season, resulting in a significant workload for the primary relievers like Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen, as they each have appeared in 50 games.
Last season Pedro Baez appeared in 73 games and pitched 74 innings, while Jansen appeared in 71 games and pitched 68 2/3 innings. This season both players are on pace to surpass those numbers. Jansen currently has pitched 52 1/3 innings, while Baez has pitched 49 2/3 innings. These two have been the back bone of the Dodgers bullpen and to see their workload continue to pile up is concerning.
Dave Roberts will continue to utilize the bullpen as it is one of the biggest strength the team has. The team could look to spread out the bullpen responsibilities when rosters expand come September, but for now, it’s worth noting that the bullpen has worked hard this season. Come the last month of the season; I’d like to see Roberts limit the amount of four to six out saves that Jansen has been asked to do this season. At least for the moment, the Dodgers have a good thing going with Morrow, Baez and Jansen at the back of the ‘pen. Let’s just hope they’re not overworked and don’t implode come October. Perhaps the inclusion of Walker Buehler in September can be used as a reinforcement.