Monday, October 12, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020
Like every postseason for the last 8 consecutive postseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers had relief problems. The Dodgers lost to the Atlanta Braves 5-to-1 in the first game of the NLCS.
Unlike most postseasons, the Dodger bullpen is not tired. They had the lowest ERA in baseball during the abbreviated 2020 season. After Walker Buehler bobbed and weaved through five innings issuing five walks, Brusdar Graterol, Dustin May, and Victor González pitched superbly. Manager Dave Roberts wanted to use veteran Blake Treinen in the ninth inning. Treinen, who had been reliable for the entire season, had a disastrous inning where he allowed three runs while retiring an out. Although Jake McGee allowed a home run, the damage was done before McGee came in.
Roberts must trust the young relievers in the ninth inning in order to reach the World. For the first time during this postseason, Kenley Jansen is not the closer. While Joe Kelly would be the most logical choice to be the closer since he has World Series experience as a closer, he has dealt with shoulder inflammation during the abbreviated 2020 season. When he has appeared in a game, he has had wildness, which has plagued him throughout his career.
Treinen came to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a reject from the Oakland Athletics. In 2018, Treinen was one of the best relievers in the Major Leagues. Nevertheless, shoulder problems and mechanical issues in his delivery caused his two-seam fastball to flatten out and not sink. Throughout the 2020 season, Treinen has been reliably good until the last two weeks of September. His sinker does not have a sharp downward movement and hangs in the trajectory of the batter’s swing, which makes the batter hit it hard.
Pedro Báez would be a logical choice to perform in the ninth inning. After all, he has had the intensive postseason experience. Upon his late arrival to summer camp, he has not performed like himself. A groin injury has sapped his velocity on his fastball, making all his pitches the same speed. Without a difference in speed, Báez cannot baffle the opposition.
Without more offensive production, the Dodger bullpen issues are a moot point. The Dodgers who take pride in their knowledge on the strike zone were swinging at balls and taking strikes. Granted, left-handed Max Fried is the best pitcher that the Dodgers have faced during 2020. the Dodgers cannot win many games scoring a mere run. Kiké Hernandez homered in his first start of this postseason.
Thirty-five teams who have won Game 1 of the NLCS out of 50 have gone to play in the World Series. The Dodgers do not want to add to this season. However, they need to pitch better and generate the runs without the aid of the home run.
Monday, October 12, 2020