Dodgers: Brandon McCarthy’s Role out of the Bullpen Makes Sense

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ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 1: Starter Brandon McCarthy
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 1: Starter Brandon McCarthy /
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Brandon McCarthy hasn’t quite had the impact many Dodger fans were hoping for when he first signed his deal with the Dodgers. So it was surprising to see his name on the World Series roster last night. Although he hasn’t had a big impact this season, that could change in a big way.

Before I get into McCarthy, I want to mention a few things about Clayton Kershaw, who made some history last night. He threw a monkey off his back and kicked a demon or two towards the treadmill. The internet can mock him no longer. Throw away those old Kershaw memes. They have become invalid. He joins Don Newcombe as the only pitcher with 11 strikeouts and no walks in a World Series Game. Dodgers World Series addition Brandon McCarthy called it Kershaw’s “Masterpiece.”

It very well could be I mean…wait, Brandon McCarthy? Is this the same Brandon McCarthy who was excluded from the first two rounds of the playoffs? The Brandon McCarthy who looked dominant in the first half and faded off into the distance in the second half? Yes, he’s back, possibly with a pivotal role to play. But why? Well, maybe it could be because of Alex Wood.

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In his first start of the postseason, Alex Wood looked pretty decent. In his five innings of work against the Cubs, he kept the Dodgers in a game but eventually took the loss. His fastball didn’t have the zip that it did in the first half, as he regularly worked in the very low 90’s. That resulted in three home runs and the Dodgers were fortunate that was all the Cubs got. Against the right-handed thunder of the Houston, that could spell trouble.

The Astros hit anything and everything that throws with a left hand. If Alex Bregman had faced Sandy Koufax last night he still probably would have hit a homer. Actually, he basically did face Sandy last night.

If Alex Wood gets into trouble in his game 4 start, he could be pulled quickly and replaced by McCarthy to face all of those right-handed power bats. Say what you will about his contract and his health, but McCarthy has always had very good stuff, and that could very well play much better in a relief role like Kenta Maeda.

McCarthy could theoretically also come in if a similar scenario unfolds with the soft-tossing lefty Rich Hill throwing tonight. There are a number of different scenarios in which the Dodgers can dispatch McCarthy and start one of their signature postseason bullpen games.

Next: Dodgers Take Game 1

A big postseason moment can quickly make a fanbase forget about a disappointing season or an unsightly contract, just ask Juan Uribe. Brandon McCarthy may have that opportunity soon at the beginning of an extended bullpen onslaught. Either way, these next couple of games figure to take a lot longer than 2 hours and 28 minutes. 

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