Los Angeles Skipper Dave Roberts and the rest of Dodger’s management have fallen back into a nasty habit of using the entire bullpen every single night. Once again we saw the devastating effects of this in the Dodger’s 5-3 loss to the Dbacks on Friday evening. Using 5-7 relievers every game is not a sustainable strategy for success. Anybody who has ever watched baseball for any amount of time knows how important starting pitching is, and how important it is for the starters to go deep into games.
When the starters go deep into games it not only prevents the bullpen from being overworked but its efficient effects carry over to the entire team. The Dodger relievers have thrown the third most innings in the majors so far through this shortened season. The starters rank tenth out of the 30 teams in MLB in innings tossed.
Yes the bullpen has been mostly great so far this season, but how long will that last if they are being asked to throw 5-6 innings each night? That’s the quickest way to burn out your entire bullpen. In a few weeks it’s bound to catch up to them. Not only that, but when you use 8 relievers, the odds that all of them will throw zeroes is very low. At least one or more are bound to give up runs. It’s a very weak strategy.
I understand that the starters are not built up yet. The only starter to pitch past the fifth inning in 2020 has been Ross Stripling. Friday night’s starter Tony Gonsolin was pitching quite well after four innings. He hadn’t allowed anything and he had made just 63 pitches. Wouldn’t it have been a better strategy for the Dodgers to let him pitch another one or two innings to take some pressure off of the pen instead of bringing in a rookie that had never pitched above double-A ball? Would Gonsolin’s arm fallen off had they let him pitch another inning at least? I doubt it.
If the starters aren’t built up yet then the Dodgers are going to have to get another pitcher on the roster that can give them multiple innings. Dennis Santanta Can’t be the only guy that can eat innings. The rest of the guys can’t just be one and done pitchers. The Dodgers should be considering getting an additional arm who can fill the role of long man.
Either way you look at this, the Dodgers have to start letting the starters go deeper into games. You saw what happens when 5-6 middle relievers are used per night again. Victor Gonzalez had to pitch and the only guy available to relieve a struggling Blake Treinen in that fateful eighth inning was Joe Kelly because nobody else was available. So who pitches tonight when Julio Urias is removed in the fourth inning after 50 pitches? It’s time for the Dodgers to stretch out the starters, acquire another long man, or they will continue to lose.