Dodgers: The Inconsistency of the Dodgers Bullpen

DENVER, CO - JUNE 1: Starting pitcher Scott Alexander #75 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers to home plate during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 1, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 1: Starting pitcher Scott Alexander #75 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers to home plate during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 1, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has definitely had its ups and downs in 2018. Despite injuries, the relief pitching has done more than enough to keep the team afloat.

The bullpen is one of the most important aspects in the game of baseball. Talk about a stressful job. Bottom of the ninth inning, two outs, and the bases are full. As a relief pitcher, you are called on in the stickiest of situations. Your one job is to get hitters out. Yes, understandably, that job is not your typical walk in the park. The Dodgers season has not been a walk in the park.

Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen is without a doubt one of the most dominant closers in all of baseball. In 43.1 innings pitched this year, Jansen has record 45 strikeouts. The majority of the time, he is throwing his overpowering cut fastball. With the velocity and movement involved in that pitch, most hitters will struggle with that pitch.

Jansen has already walked 11 batters this year. In 2017, he only walked seven all year in over 68 innings pitched. Some could say Kenley Jansen is having a “down” year, but nevertheless still dominant.

Standing at 6 foot 5, the strong right-hander towers over each and every hitter. The first half of the delivery is pretty basic, but the second half consists of Jansen pausing for a split second in an attempt to throw the hitter off just enough. You could compare the short pause to Clayton Kershaw’s small stop and hitch.

Another strategy of Jansen’s is his witty quick pitch, (Kershaw has been known to do this as well). Not many relievers or even pitchers, in general, do this very often, if at all. Most of the time he will display his quick pitch with two strikes on the batter. With the hitter’s back against the wall, just as he get’s prepared to step in, Jansen is a step ahead of the batter. Jansen sets quickly and slightly lifts his leg and deals. The next thing you know, the hitter is in the dugout.

Jansen is currently holding down a 2.28 ERA. Four times has the big man been called on to get four or more outs to earn the save. Jansen has earned a save in each of those four games.

Long/Short Relief

Due to starting pitching injuries, the Dodgers have resulted in “bullpen games”. Both Scott Alexander and Daniel Hudson have started a game. Dave Roberts could not afford to send out a starting pitcher on short rest.

The most interesting pitcher on this entire staff is Caleb Ferguson. Ferguson made his major league debut June 6th in Pittsburgh. Allowing 4 earned runs in just an inning and a third, Ferguson’s debut did not go as planned. Following Ferguson’s unfortunate debut, an additional seven pitchers toed the rubber, allowing 5 more runs to cross the plate.

Despite struggling in multiple starts, there are a few bright spots for the twenty-one-year-old southpaw. In a start against the Mets on the 23rd of June, Ferguson looked like he belonged. In a scoreless four innings of work, the Caleb seized just two hits. He also sat down six Mets on strikes.

Ferguson has been great as of late out of the bullpen. Whether the Dodgers decide to keep him in the pen or send him back to OKC to develop as a starting pitcher is still up in the air. Due to limited arms on the staff, it looks like he will continue to stay with the big league club.

The Dodgers most recent acquisition, Dylan Floro, has come in and been nothing but perfect. In his first few outings as a Dodger, Floro has yet to allow either a hit or a run. Alongside perfection, he has struck on a pair in his 2 2/3 innings of work.

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Both Daniel Hudson and Scott Alexander have had their ups and downs this season. Alexander owns a 3.57 ERA in 40 1/3 innings of work. Hudson, who is very flexible when it comes to innings, owns a 3.50 ERA in 36 innings of work. Injuries from the lefties, Liberatore and Cingrani, have forced more work upon Alexander and the rookie Caleb Ferguson.


The injury bug has hit the Dodgers clubhouse yet again, and this time it’s a big sting. There have been quite a few injuries this season, obviously losing Corey Seager was the biggest of them all. A number of starting and relief pitchers have been hit by the injury bug.

Both Josh Fields and Pedro Baez are currently on the 10-day disabled list. Losing the two of them obviously isn’t the end of the world. Baez might be one of the most inconsistent bullpen guys. The home run ball has always haunted him. Fields has had his fair share of rough outings, but in 34 1/3 innings of work, he owns a 2.36 ERA. Cingrani is currently working his way back, despite a few hiccups on his way back.

Next: Dodgers Quick Hits: Stripling, Turner, May, First Place

Trade Deadline

With the trade deadline just weeks away, the Dodgers’ front office knows that a move is necessary. Whether it be on the left side of the field with power-hitting Machado or a setup guy such as Zach Britton or Brad Hand. Considering injuries and other various reasons, an acquisition of a reliever could be a huge piece of this puzzle. Just another step closer to another World Series run.