Brusdar Graterol, despite his 1.99 ERA on the season coming into Wednesday's game, remains one of the most frustrating Los Angeles Dodgers. And that's been the story ever since he was acquired before the start of the 2020 season.
Graterol has all the potential in the world thanks to his effortless ability to hurl triple-digit sinkers consistently. But he's oft-injured. He mislocates far too often. He doesn't strike out enough batters with the fearsome arsenal he possesses.
He epitomized all of those issues in Wednesday's series finale loss to the Washington Nationals. Manager Dave Roberts called on the massive right-hander to preserve a 5-5 tie, but Graterol left the inning with the Dodgers down 8-5.
All he had to do was sit down the bottom of the Nationals' lineup. Instead, he hit the leadoff batter (and former Dodger) in Keibert Ruiz, made a terrible error on a ground ball off the bat of CJ Abrams, and then surrendered what ended up being the game-losing three-run homer to Luis Garcia.
The missed out on the Abrams grounder proved to be the difference, as Garcia's blast game with two outs. Even worse, Graterol had an 0-2 count on Garcia and then grooved a 89 MPH nothing pitch right over the inside corner.
Dodgers' Brusdar Graterol costs LA win with awful showing in eighth inning
That's how you reward your manager on his 51st birthday?! The Nationals would avoid the sweep with a 10-6 victory after tacking on two more runs against Phil Bickford.
But it all comes back to that Abrams grounder, which deflected off Graterol's glove, only for the right-hander to recover, gain possession of the ball, and attempt an off-balanced throw to second base in an effort to get the lead runner. It was a terribly risky try especially since he had the automatic out at first base.
He got the next two outs before going ahead 0-2 on Garcia and serving up a meatball.
Graterol's finally been healthy for a long stretch to start this season, but he's failed to grab a stranglehold on the team's closer role despite there being ample opportunity to do so.
The 24-year-old should be a lot further along in his journey to be a reliable, elite fixture in the Dodgers bullpen, but Wednesday's loss proves why he still has ways to go before he can be trusted in that manner.