Baseball has entered meaningful territory.
Teams win the divisions during games after Memorial Day.

A June gloom that reflects the state of mind the Dodgers’ bullpen currently finds itself in fills the Los Angeles skies. Their bullpen isn’t helping their case for winning the division.

After the bullpen’s collapse, the Dodgers fell to second place. Reach for the panic button because it might be needed. The gloomy cloud cast over the pitching staff doesn’t seem to have an end to it. 


The Bullpen’s Real Problem

The Dodgers starting rotation resembles the Marvel Universe post-Thanos–it’s made up of a bunch of characters people have only heard of but aren’t household names yet. After injuries to Dustin May and Julio Urias, the front office prematurely reached into its deep prospect pocket. 

The Dodgers have promoted Michael Grove, Bobby Miller, and Gavin Stone to replace the injured starting pitchers. 

Since then, Dave Roberts has relied heavily on the bullpen. Starting pitchers aren’t pitching deep into the games. 

During their current three-game losing streak, only one starter pitched passed the 6th inning, while the bullpen pitched 12 innings. During that stretch, the bullpen gave up 10 runs compared to the 7 runs starting pitchers earned. 

Coming into the season, the Dodgers bullpen was an aspect I confidently did not worry about. Mark Prior’s ability to turn other teams’ released players into superstars is justified by his history. Even without an assigned closer, the bullpen did not worry me.

Instead, I focused my anxiety on the starting rotation. Two months into the season, the starting pitching’s performance have proven my expectations of it correct. 

Noah Syndergaard’s pitching is clearly being affected by his yearning for the past. Julio Urias isn’t pitching to the potential he’s demonstrated in the last two seasons. Clayton Kershaw’s vintage start to the season came to a halt after a personal loss. The re-emergence of Dustin May’s injury continues a series of unfortunate events that have led to the collapse of the bullpen. 

The starting rotation’s inconsistencies have forced Roberts to rely on the bullpen more than ever. In doing so, the bullpen is being exposed even more than usual. The league is beginning to know how to approach the Dodgers’ pen, causing them to lose games. 

Bullpen Loses Game Against Reds

The collapse revealed itself during the first game of the series against the Reds. Roberts handed an 8-4 lead to the bullpen after Gonsolin pitched five innings. Gonsolin continued in the season tradition of starting pitchers not pitching deep into games. 

Roberts passed the ball to Almonte, Graterol, Phillips, Ferguson, and Miller, hoping to maintain the lead. The bunch have become a reliable group. Almonte regained his form after his May 18th performance. Roberts trusts Graterol, Phillips, and Ferguson at any point of the game. They are staples of the pen.


Unfortunately, the constant reliability of these bullpen arms became evident in the game when they gave up a combined total of eight hits and five runs. 

“They’re not throwing the ball well,” explained Dave Roberts.

“There are walks in there. There are hit batsmen in there. There’s no punch. And then you’re getting the walk. That’s a bad combo. When you look down there, I can trust guys, but…it’s got to work both ways. The talent is there. But they’ve got to do their part, too. Tonight is a night we shouldn’t have lost this game.” 


The pen’s problem will continue to be a problem until the rotation fixes their own flaws.

The starting pitchers need to figure out how to pitch deep into the games so Roberts does not overexpose the pen.


The Dodgers’ secret weapon is becoming saturated by the constant exposure and its showing.
In order to win the division, the Dodgers’ bullpen needs to continue being a reliable secret weapon. 

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