Dodgers: Caleb Ferguson Could Stabilize the Bridge to Kenley Jansen
The Dodgers have gotten off to a rough start when it comes to their bullpen. Caleb Ferguson could help solve the club’s eighth-inning woes.
The Dodgers have had a good start to the season going 6-2 after Friday’s win over the Rockies. Despite that 6-2 record, it has not been an easy path for the Dodgers so far. Two of their victories were comeback wins, two of their losses were blown leads, and in Tuesday’s win Kenley Jansen needed to escape a bases-loaded jam.
LA’s bullpen has been a mess including yesterday’s win in which the pen managed to make an eight-run lead into a nail biter. The newest Dodger reliever Joe Kelly has had a rough start to his Dodger career. He is responsible for two of the team’s blown leads and is still going to be counted on to bridge the gap to Kenley Jansen.
If Kelly continues to struggle the Dodgers’ will look to put him into lower pressure situations until he figures things out. The Dodgers could put another highly effective reliever into those high leverage spots; that reliever is Caleb Ferguson. Caleb has had a solid start to the season pitching four scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
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Ferguson is still only twenty-two years old until July and last season he was excellent in relief pitching to a 2.35 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 38 plus innings. After posting a 12:6 strikeout to walk ratio in three starts, Fergie had a 47:6 strikeout to walk ratio in his 38 plus innings of work as a reliever in 2018.
Last season, Caleb Ferguson pitched in high leverage situations and limited the opposition to a .226 batting average. What makes him an ideal eighth-inning setup reliever is the fact that he can get both right and left-handed hitters out. In 2018, Ferguson allowed a .237 average to righties and a .217 average to lefties.
The Dodgers signed Joe Kelly hoping the bridge to Kenley Jansen would be a steady one. So far it has been anything but steady and Kelly might need to regain his peak form pitching in low-pressure situations. It’s time for the Dodgers to give Ferguson a chance to lock down the eighth inning setup reliever role.
While Fergie may end up being a solid starting pitcher one day, he is not going to crack the starting rotation anytime soon with the Dodgers. With a heavy fastball and developing off-speed pitches, Ferguson can be the stabilizer at the back of the Dodgers’ bullpen. With the pen struggling to find it’s footing early this season, it’s time to give Ferguson a bigger role.