We know, we know. Alex Vesia has actually had a good second half (2.66 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 23.2 innings), but how can the Dodgers be so sure his horrific first half is undoubtedly in the rearview?
Vesia was largely crumbling in high-pressure situations from April-June. A couple of trips to the minor leagues obviously helped him settle down, but he hasn't exactly been used in similar situations during the second half. And when the postseason arrives, every moment is intense. There aren't cupcake innings to go around for confidence builders.
There's value in carrying Vesia because he's a left-hander, but his improved numbers don't tell the whole story. He's barely been deployed like he was last year, when he was the unquestioned bullpen bulldog brought in to neutralize the opponents' best left-handed hitters and inject the Dodgers with an energy unlike any other.
In the few games he was called upon to hold a lead in August and September, he was bailed out by an incredible defensive play by Mookie Betts vs the Red Sox after giving up a hit to lefty Alex Verdugo. He got crushed by the Braves in the team's extra innings loss on Sept. 2. In a game the Dodgers won on Aug. 8 against the D-backs, Vesia made it that much more difficult by surrendering two runs in the eighth inning as LA hung on by a score of 5-4.
Vesia's been better, but it's been in a much different context, and it won't translate to postseason success.