Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow
And this is where games end if the Dodgers have a lead in the 8th and 9th inning. Is there any question that this duo should be the ones handling the most critical situations?
These two form arguably the best backend pair of a bullpen in baseball. Combined, they have a 1.62 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 12.7 K/9. Filthy. Morrow has been a revelation and Jansen has been…….well…Kenley Jansen.
Being a hard-thrower (can hit triple-digits) with filthy offspeed stuff, Morrow easily has the stuff to be an elite setup man.
Fun fact: he’s limited left-handed hitters to 5-51 off him (and 17 strikeouts), which translates to a .098 average and .262 OPS. I mean that’s just videogame-like and super laughable because the reverse splits are for real. He can be used in situations when needed to retire the opponent’s elite left-handed hitters.
Dave Roberts has used him in multiple roles this year, and there’s no question that Morrow should be utilized in the most crucial of situations; whether that be to water down a flame in the sixth or seventh inning or to get the ball to Kenley Jansen.
Speaking of Jansen, he can be used before the 9th inning if called upon. There’s no point in having the best closer in baseball if you can’t hold onto the lead and hand the rock to him.
Last year’s Game 5 against the Nationals showed that Dave Roberts isn’t afraid to use the big man before even the 8th inning, and in the playoffs at least, that’s the way to use him. Use him in the most critical of situations, no matter how early, and take it from there. Remember, you still have Brandon Morrow waiting.
The bullpen may be tailing off recently statistically, but a couple of blowups (from Pedro Baez, Ross Stripling and Walker Buehler) skews that.
Whatever the case, the bullpen, at least the guys on this list, have been reliable. Pedro Baez is an automatic NO, Walker Buehler has to show more these last nine games, and the others not mentioned don’t have a chance. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if Dave Roberts can prioritize his heart over his head.