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I know I said three key players but this combination of guys have to be on whenever they are called upon. The players I am alluding to are the middle relievers. Everyone in the bullpen not named Kenley Jansen, Brandon Morrow or Kenta Maeda.
God forbid a starting pitcher has a bad outing. But if that happens these are the guys that are going to need to pick up the slack. These guys will be pitching in big moments in the game. This role has been up and down all year long. From Stripling to matchup guys like Cingrani and Watson, they need to be on. To the chagrin of fans, Roberts has been awfully quick to move from pitcher to pitcher.
At even the slightest hint of trouble, Roberts was quick with the hook. It has worked out for him thus far so he will probably continue with this tactic. Meaning we will see a lot of this middle relief core. He will do anything to bridge the gap to the big arms in the back. Using any combo available as long as they get the ball to Kenley in the ninth.
This middle relief group was solid in the NLDS. They were a big reason for the utter dominance. A bullpen can make or break a team. With the Dodgers being rock solid at the back end of the bullpen it is the middle relief that needs to step up their performance. They could be the difference in the NLCS, especially with the managerial style of Roberts we will be seeing a lot of them.
The Dodgers undoubtedly have the advantage with the better bullpen. Now it’s just about putting it all together and advancing past the NL. I expect this to be a back and forth series, but there’s no doubt the Dodgers should be the favorites to advance.