Dodgers new trade acquisition already makes big impact in first series with team

May 19, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Anthony Banda (43) throws
May 19, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Anthony Banda (43) throws / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Given the state of the Dodgers' bullpen, we anticipated a short stint in the minors for lefty reliever Anthony Banda, who the Guardians traded to LA on May 17 for cash considerations — but it turned out to be much shorter than anyone might've thought. Two days after the trade, Banda was called up to the majors and thrown in during extras with one of the fastest men in baseball — Elly De La Cruz — serving as the ghost runner on second base.

For a pitcher with less than 120 major league innings under his belt in a 12-year career and a 5.64 ERA during that time, Banda looked cool as a cucumber on the mound in his Dodgers debut. He faced the Reds' 3-4-5 hitters and struck out Mike Ford before getting Jeimer Candelario and Jake Fraley to ground out, preserving the tie and setting the stage for the Dodgers — specifically, Shohei Ohtani — to come up in the bottom of the 10th and walk it off for LA.

With the threat of a split series creeping up behind him, Banda was able to come through in a huge spot for the Dodgers. Pressure makes diamonds, and all that.

New Dodgers acquisition Anthony Banda came up during a huge spot during his season debut and didn't disappoint

It was also Banda's first outing in the majors in over a year; he last pitched in the bigs on April 29, 2023 for the Nationals, when he was taken out of a game against the Pirates before recording an out. The Dodgers are the 12th team he's landed with since being drafted by the Brewers in 2012, and his best stint was with the Pirates in 2021, when he pitched 26 1/3 innings for a 3.42 ERA.

While it's unlikely that Banda will be the second coming of Evan Phillips, it was a gamble for the Dodgers to put him in during such a high leverage situation, and even more impressive that he was able to pull off the kind of comeback he did. He might go back into the Dodgers' revolving door of relievers, but at least he able to put his first major league win since May 2021 in the books, and make the Dodgers look very good for an afternoon.

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