The Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen melted down on Tuesday night after Bobby Miller exited the game. The young right-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits and a walk before Caleb Ferguson and Bryan Hudson surrendered four more in just 1.2 innings of work. The Dodgers lost 8-3.
Though the bullpen has picked things up in recent weeks, it's still not a unit fans would be comfortable going into the postseason with. When you're facing teams like the Phillies, Braves, Cubs, Diamondbacks and Reds all in a row, the task will be much more difficult for this group to hold it down.
Any reinforcements will help, and the Dodgers have some on the way. Waker Buehler, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Yency Almonte should be back relatively soon, but others like Blake Treinen and Daniel Hudson feel like longshots -- and ones the team shouldn't start baking in to their late-season projections.
In recent days the Dodgers received positive updates on both Hudson and Treinen, both of whom were projected to be major contributors in 2023. They've been nonexistent so far, though.
If they're back, great. But the Dodgers need to continue operating as if they've never been part of the big-picture equation and figure out how to maximize what they have.
Dodgers can't be teased by Daniel Hudson and Blake Treinen positive injury updates
First, we learned on Sunday that Hudson's recovery from a sprained MCL was coming along faster than expected. Here's what the right-hander told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
"There’s a lot of optimism right now that I could return before the end of the season. We’re not going to try and put a date on it. I would ideally like to get into a handful of games before the playoffs. Get my feet underneath me. I feel like I could help this team in the playoffs."- Daniel Hudson via OC Register
Hudson's appeared in 28 games dating back to the start of last season. Then he tore his ACL, returned in June, pitched in three games, suffered a sprained MCL, and was placed on the 60-day IL. His return sparked the bullpen for a few days, but at this point it's hard to forecast positive contributions from him against some of the best lineups in the league.
And it's worse for Treinen. He hasn't pitched since last April. He's logged five total innings dating back to the start of last season. He attempted to forgo surgery on his injured shoulder and tried to rehab it, but ended up requiring the procedure anyway, which has kept him out of action for nearly two full seasons.
He was sent out on his first rehab assignment Tuesday in preparation for a return, but his buildup will need to be considerable. Getting his velocity back after largely being unable to consistently throw since March of 2022 will be a tall task. Being thrown back into the mix for the toughest stretch of the season will be another difficult factor to navigate.
Dodgers fans will welcome the duo once they're present with the MLB roster. Other than that, we'd recommend the most cautiously optimistic treading here as to not facilitate false hope.