Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dodgers no longer O-fer America

*** UPDATE ***

Just as I was hitting "Publish" on this post, I saw this little gem from Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com: "Brian Wilson placed on the DL.  Elbow problems.  Nerve irritation."  Uh oh...

I guess it's safe to say the early concerns I point out about the bullpen below might not go away.


It appears that the Dodgers like American soil after all.  But their bullpen?  Maybe not so much.

Kenley Jansen struck out pinch-hitter Nick Hundley with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and after the bullpen flirted with handing another one away like Sunday, the Dodgers won 3-2 in San Diego.  That ups their record to 3-1.

It's easy to overreact to the first handful of games this early in the season, but it appears that the final couple of innings won't be slam dunk easy like we thought it would.  Check out their results in innings eight and nine from the last three games:

Game #2 at Diamondbacks (in Australia): 5 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks
Game #3 at Padres: 3 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 errors (8th inning only)
Game #4 at Padres: 0 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks
Total: 8 runs, 9 hits, 7 walks, 2 errors

No matter which three-game stretch we're looking at, those aren't very good numbers.  Granted, they bent but did not break in this game, but five baserunners in two innings is usually good for a run, just not this time.

Look, I think it would be crazy for people to think this will be the norm.  I can't imagine the names Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Chris Perez, and Chris Withrow will struggle to get the ball to Jansen, who wasn't very good himself today.  Those names have all had success for various amounts of time, so they should settle in.

Obviously, they can't give away so many free passes, as seven walks in five innings covering three games is just way too much.  It's not like they were using Brandon League and Matt Magill either, it was mostly the big guns, with the exception of Jose Dominguez in the second game.  Alas, he's already been demoted to Triple-A.  No surprise there.

Let's not forget that the offense has only scored four runs the last couple of games, as the only big swing they had was Yasiel Puig's two-run bomb in the first inning of this game.  It was measured at 410 feet, but seriously, it looked a heck of a lot farther than that.  I'm not sure how in the world they even determine such a thing anyway.

Take that away, and it's been a couple games worth of practically nothing, as they only had seven hits and three walks in this game, along with four hits and three walks on Sunday.  Not exactly winning numbers, so maybe they're a bit fortunate to split.

Nonetheless, a win is a win, and even though Zack Greinke only made it through five innings, he still picked up the win thanks to two runs with five strikeouts.  He ran into some long pitch counts, which is what chased him earlier than expected.  Still, five and two are good numbers.

These two will play the rubber game on Wednesday night, as Dan Haren looks for his first win in Dodger blue.

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