Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Despite a wonderful eight-inning performance by Trevor Bauer and a ninth inning pinch-hit single by Austin Barnes, the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped the game to the Milwaukee Brewers 2-to-1.
Just before the game, the Dodgers put Brusdar Graterol on the IL and recalled Alex Vesia. Graterol has discomfort in his forearm, which is bad news for any pitcher. Often, when a pitcher feels any pain in his forearm, he needs Tommy John surgery.
Since Graterol could not throw much in Venezuela during the past offseason, he began slowly in spring training and started the 2021 season on the IL. He has not performed well since he has been on the active roster, having a 27.00 ERA. Today, when Graterol went back on the IL, it was another blow to the embattled Dodger bullpen.
Friday is a bullpen game for the Dodgers because they want to prevent starters from getting injured. After the sixty-game 2020 season, teams worry their pitchers have not built up sufficient arm strength not to get injured. To the Dodger organization, giving starters an extra day of rest might help them last for the entire 162-game 2021 season without going on the IL. The Dodgers are amid fourteen consecutive games.
In April, the Dodger bullpen has been decimated by injuries, and the bullpen has toiled and caused many losses. While Bauer did not have his customary good control against Milwaukee, he battled. The only blemish on Bauer’s remarkable outing was a two-run blast by Travis Shaw, a son of former Dodger closer Jeff Shaw. For the first time since August 3, 2019, a Dodger pitcher had gone eight innings. Bauer’s performance saved the Dodger bullpen for tomorrow.
After Wednesday’s eighth-inning explosion, the Dodgers hoped their offensive funk was over but no such luck. Yes, the Brewers played spectacular defense, but the Dodgers did not have timely hitting. They could not link hits together until the ninth inning, but slumping Mookie Betts ended the rally. Without Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry, the Dodger lineup does not have the necessary length to prevent the opposing pitchers from hurling around the dangerous Dodger hitters, namely Max Muncy. Not until either Bellinger or McKinstry returns to the lineup, the Dodger offense will be healthy and productive.