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Dodgers Middle Relief Pathetic Again, Blow Opening Game To Giants

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. That Personifies the Dodgers since Andrew Friedman took over. The Dodgers have two fatal flaws, the terrible middle relief, and lackluster game management. Both are intertwined and once again cost them the game on Monday evening as the Giants defeated the Dodgers 4-2 at Dodger Stadium in the opening game of the three game series between the two historic rivals.

I will be keeping track of these failures to further prove that the strategies are poor. If you remember the bullpen blew that 13-inning marathon game against Arizona last Friday night as the Dodgers used the all-right handed lineup. That night the lineup scored four runs (three of them knocked in by A.J. Pollock) they stranded 17 runners on base and the Dodgers lost. Tonight it all happened again.

What a shame too because Julio Urias was magnificent. The young left hander mowed down the Giant’s old decrepit hitters with ease. His fluid delivery and nasty velocity combined with great movement held the San Francisco hitters off the board. Urias tossed five shutout innings allowing just three hits and striking out seven without issuing a walk. Urias made 77 pitches, but management refuses to let the starters go deeper into games.

Giants    4 9 0

Dodgers 2 7 1





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To be fair the Dodger bats didn’t do much against opposing starter Drew Pomeranz. Without Joc Pederson and Max Muncy in the starting lineup (A lefty on the mound!) Pomeranz allowed just two earned runs on six hits over six innings while striking out six. The Dodgers tallied just seven hits and put only one runner into scoring position. They left five men on base.

In the bottom of the fifth and the score tied at nothing, the Dodgers got to Pomeranz. Chris Taylor launched a lead-off home run deep into the left field pavilions to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. One out later pinch-hitter Alex Verdugo smashed his first home run of the season, over the center field wall. That put the Dodgers ahead 2-0.

That should have been enough against an inferior team. But the offense can’t score 15 runs per game. Once again Joe Kelly immediately gave up a home run against his first hitter of an inning. Brandon Belt took him deep to start the sixth inning, and the nightmare was only beginning. After Belt’s home run Kelly was able to get out of the inning retiring the next three batters including whiffs to Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. The Dodgers did nothing with the bats the rest of the way, so with a 2-1 lead entering the seventh inning, it was up to the bullpen to hold the lead. Surprise, Surprise They couldn’t.

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So Kelly got out of the inning and only allowed one run. That’s about as good as you’re going to get from him right now. So don’t push your luck. For some unknown reason he was allowed to continue in the seventh. Yangervis Solarte singled, but Kelly retired the next two batters. With Solarte at third, pinch-hitter and fatso Pablo Sandoval singles to center to score Solarte and tie the game at 2-2. Kelly remained in the game and Steven Duggar doubled into the gap. Fortunately Sandoval was far too fat to score, and could only get to third. The Dodgers had seen enough of Kelly’s pathetic pitching and called in the next bum, Scott Alexander to get out of the inning. Alexander is always bad, and of course he gave up a line-drive two-run double to Belt that put the Giants up 4-2. Dylan Floro had to come in and get the final out of the inning. It was too late by then.

The Dodgers had a sprinkle of a rally over the last two innings. Enrique Hernandez singled with none out in the bottom of the eighth. But former Dodger Tony Watson (A real actual reliever) induced Justin Turner into a double play. Corey Seager lined out to end the frame. In the bottom of the ninth, Max Muncy drew a one-out walk. But Will Smith struck out Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor to end the game.

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If you won’t allow your starters to make more than 75 pitches, and you rely heavily on the bullpen trotting out nine middle relievers every night, then you better make sure that those relievers are all effective pitchers. To further illustrate how terrible this game management is and how predictable it is I’ll copy paste my conversation with Oscar on twitter before the Giant’s three-run seventh inning with timestamps.

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Here comes all the sh***y middle relievers

Delete this message sent 2 hours ago from Ladodgerreport

2h2 hours ago

Haha Shhh  

Offense is looking mighty fine though

Home run blasters + singles. Looking real good

Did u call it , or did u call it

Oh I called it

1h1 hour ago

The middle relief is awful. Management should be able to see this even now only five games deep

We can’t score 25 runs every night. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out

that’s correct. Which means they have to be able to hold leads, one run leads too.

Told you. Kelly sucks

Seriously Hasn’t held one lead yet

Been handed 3. Blew em all

I know Kelly isn’t going anywhere, but Yimi, Stewart, and Alexander should all be released. Immediately

Those idiots in the front office believe that all relievers are a dime a dozen so they place little value on relief pitching. This is what we get

Ha! Here comes Alexander

I should tweet out our conversation with timestamps to prove how predictable this is. These relievers are sh***y. It’s not going to change


There you have it. The middle relievers are just not good pitchers. No amount of adjustments or Honeycutt magic is going to change this. Certainly when Kershaw comes back either Urias or Stripling can be moved to the bullpen and maybe Stewart or Yimi Garcia can get sent down. That should help, but there needs to be a lot more restructuring. If the Dodgers want to keep using this bullpen centric approach then they’re going to have to find some better relievers. Madison Bumgarner versus Hyun-jin Ryu tomorrow as the series continues. The Dodger bullpen sucks folks, and there’s no white knights at their door. I hear Craig Kimbrel is still available.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

6 thoughts on “Dodgers Middle Relief Pathetic Again, Blow Opening Game To Giants

  1. I actually think our middle relievers are solid, just misused. Joe Kelly needs to get right quickly – he’s being paid a lot of money and will get his chances. I actually think they need to pitch Yimi Garcia earlier and Joe Kelly later. Alexander is serviceable.

    Overall I would have let Urias pitch another inning. Let the kids pitch.

    1. Sorry Yueh but Stewart, Yimi and Alexander all suck. They will continue to suck until they’re booted off the roster. Kelly at least has some track record of success in the majors. But he may be the next Chris Hatcher.

  2. This is who we are. All or nothing. Last night we were nothing for 8 innings.

    0 for 1 WRISP. Really? 1? Kelly now with an ERA of 18, considerably higher than the 4.39 he put up last year. (Why pay a reliever with an ERA over 4 $25mm guaranteed?) More Ks than hits again.

    Kelly should be an easy fix. Stop throwing that cheese right down the middle. If he can’t find the perimeters with that pitch it will be a long year for him. I just saw the final year of his contract, $12 million, is a team option with a $4 million buyout. I believe that buyout will be exercised. He hasn’t found the corners with 98 in 6 years, why would I believe he can suddenly do it now? The other stats just come with this team. There will be inconsistencies. It’s who we are. It’s what we do.

    I accept what is. I trust we will be good more often than we will be bad.

  3. Dodgers offense doesn’t look so tough against big-league pitching. Maybe it’s just that lefty thing, but we’re going to see a lot of them again this year.

  4. So what is your experience managing on the major league level that you know so much about it?

    1. I may only be an armchair manager as you are attempting to point out, but I can spot talent when I see it. I can also make logical decisions. What about you?

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