Dodgers playoff roster odds: Dustin May has a lot to prove in relief

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 07: Relief pitcher Dustin May #85 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the sixth inning during the MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 07: Relief pitcher Dustin May #85 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the sixth inning during the MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers will head on their last east coast road trip of the season this week. Dustin May will look to prove he can succeed in a relief role.

After being promoted to the big leagues by the Dodgers, Dustin May started four games for the Dodgers and showed the type of ceiling that was expected of him.  In those four starts, May had an ERA of 2.82 and held the opposition to a .247 batting average.  If it weren’t for two subpar sixth innings, his ERA would be even lower.

The problem for the Dodgers and Dustin May is that the playoff rotation is completely full if Rich Hill can return and stay healthy.  Hill is scheduled to return on Thursday which would leave Dustin with a bullpen spot as his only possible way of making the postseason roster.  May has made three relief appearances and two of them were disasters.

Against the Braves, May loaded the bases and allowed a grand slam in his two innings pitched.  Against the Diamondbacks, Dustin May once again loaded the bases and was pulled from the game after getting struck in the head by a come-backer.  His last relief appearance on Saturday was his best one yet, a perfect inning against the Giants.

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In total, May has a 18.90 ERA as a reliever and the opposition has hit .412 against him.  In the minor leagues, Dustin made just five relief appearances and his last relief appearance in the minor leagues came back in 2017.  The other four relief outings came during his first season in the Dodgers’ farm system in 2016.

Some early struggles were expected from May out of the bullpen given that it has been awhile since he last pitched in relief.  With three weeks left in the regular season, he will need to continue to show improvement if he wants to crack the postseason roster.  Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin are all starting pitchers who will likely wind up in the playoff bullpen.

If the playoffs started tomorrow, Dustin May would be off the postseason roster.  He has not shown the ability to pitch effectively out of the bullpen.  The good thing for May is that there are still three weeks left to prove himself.  If he can find his groove out of the bullpen and become a shutdown reliever, he will be hard to leave off the playoff roster with his power sinker.

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As things stand now, Dustin May has a true 50-50 shot of making the playoff roster.  His stuff is big league ready but he needs to pitch better out of the bullpen.  If he does then the Dodgers will get plenty of use out of him in the postseason.  If he does not then he will be left off of the playoff roster like Walker Buehler was in 2017.

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