Dodgers: Pedro Baez Delivers a Clutch “Save” For the Dodgers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 15: Pedro Baez #42 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. All players are wearing the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 15: Pedro Baez #42 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. All players are wearing the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Pedro Baez has been a reliever Dodgers fans love to use as a punching bag. On Saturday night, he came through and escaped a tough jam like he was Houdini.

Dodgers fans have never been shy to voice their opinion about their team’s relievers.  Pedro Baez has been a scapegoat for much of the bullpen’s woes in past seasons and he would often get booed when he ran through the bullpen gates to enter a game.  Well, times are changing and now Petey is one of the reliable members of the Dodger bullpen.

Saturday night, Pedro was asked to come into the game and perform an escape act that Harry Houdini would be proud of. After Caleb Ferguson loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth inning, Baez was brought into the game by Dave Roberts.  After a fly out to shallow left field, an out via the infield fly rule, and a strikeout of Josh Bell, Baez escaped the bases loaded no out jam.

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Then for one of the first times in his career, Pedro left the game to a standing ovation that was well deserved.  While Kenley Jansen technically gets the save for Saturday night’s game, the real save belonged to Baez as he saved a game that was heading off the tracks.  Outside of Dylan Floro and Kenley Jansen, Petey has been one of the most reliable late-inning relievers on the team.

In past seasons, Baez seemed to be more of a thrower than a pitcher.  He had a fastball in the upper 90’s and a slider that was more of a show-me pitch.  This season, Baez has developed his changeup and he is throwing it 38% of the time which is a career-high and a big jump from his previous high usage rate of 14%.

In Saturday night’s game, Pedro had a clear plan of attack and he executed it to perfection.  Fastballs high to induce a pop fly or miss, and when he did miss, he missed high which meant no damage.  He was also spotting his changeup low and away to left-handed batters to either induce a weak ground ball or a swing through.

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Once again, when he missed he missed off the plate in a location where no damage would be done.  Dave Roberts trusted Baez to get a few lefties out and Pedro did not disappoint.  On the season, left-handed batters are hitting just .100 against Baez.  Once Joe Kelly gets things figured out, the Dodgers could have four reliable late-inning relievers in Dylan Floro, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, and Kenley Jansen.