The Los Angeles Dodgers have struggled immensely in the month of June in large part to a pitching staff that's beaten up and simply not very talented in the bullpen department. While the team has plenty of time to figure it out, this has been very concerning for Dodgers fans who expect greatness from their guys.
Thankfully, the Boys in Blue appeared to get back on the right track in Orange County with a two-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels. The Dodgers scored only four runs in total in the series but blanked the Angels in both games to secure the series win. The second of those two wins was the most surprising, as it came via a bullpen game.
Two promising games aren't enough for fans to buy back into this bullpen, but it's a step in the right direction. At the very least, Dave Roberts and Mark Prior should have gotten the memo on how to fix one of the team's bullpen problems, and it was the most obvious solution all along.
Even Phillips should be the Dodgers' full-time closer
Evan Phillips was the best arm the Dodgers had in the bullpen in 2022 and despite his success, the team was unwilling to commit to a singular closer heading into this season. That has played out during the year as five different Dodgers have recorded a save for far. Phillips has the most with nine.
While Phillips has gotten the most chances in the ninth inning, he hasn't been the reliable go-to closer that he probably should've been this entire time. Prior to the two-game series in Anaheim (where Phillips recorded both saves), the last time he saved a game was May 12 against the San Diego Padres.
Brusdar Graterol and Caleb Ferguson both recorded saves in that timeframe. Both pitchers have also blown at least one save opportunity since May 1. In total, the Dodgers have blown eight saves thus far this season in 23 opportunities. Phillips is only responsible for one of those blown saves.
It really isn't rocket science. The Dodgers should be calling on their best reliever out of the bullpen during the most consequential inning of a given game -- which is usually the ninth inning. Phillips hopefully reminded Roberts of that with two perfect ninth innings on consecutive nights against the Halos where he retired six straight batters, including Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Hunter Renfroe.