Home Sports Dodgers don’t go with bullpen game after all but still fall to Giants and Logan Webb

Dodgers don’t go with bullpen game after all but still fall to Giants and Logan Webb

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San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb works against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Wednesday was expected to be a bullpen game for the Dodgers. But instead, at the end of their series against the San Francisco Giants, an unexpected pitchers’ duel broke out at Oracle Park.

The Giants prevailed 4-1, avoiding a three-game sweep behind six scoreless innings from right-handed ace Logan Webb.

But the Dodgers, who adopted the bullpen routine at the end of each inning throughout their rotation to give their starters an extra day of rest, received a pleasant surprise in the form of Elieser Hernandeza 29-year-old former Miami Marlins pitcher making his first major league appearance since 2022.

Hernandez did not match Webb’s brilliance, allowing three runs in the Dodgers’ first loss to the Giants (20-25) in six games this season. But, on the kind of day the Dodgers (29-16) have typically tested their relief staff, the right-hander navigated six innings, filling the bottom of the strike zone with low-90s fastballs, late changeups and swinging . -and-missed cutters in a solid start that saved the bullpen.

“I don’t think we could have done a much better job of preventing runs,” manager Dave Roberts said of Hernandez, who had a 5.04 earned run average in five seasons with the Marlins from 2018 to 2022 and signed with the Dodgers. this year. out of season. “We had our guys available (for a bullpen game), but just the way he was throwing the ball and then when they took advantage, it made sense to try to stretch him out more.”

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In fact, if the Dodgers had taken advantage of a bases-loaded first-inning opportunity against Webb, Roberts’ game plan might have been different. But it was one of several missed opportunities on a night in which they left 11 men on base and went hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Then, when they fell behind in the third inning to Mike Yastrzemski’s two-run homer that barely caught the shortstop down the right field line (a ball that catcher Will Smith noted is a “pop fly in most places”), Roberts Let’s let Hernández pitch until he’s tired.

Everything went pretty well and Hernández will stay as a long reliever.

“It was really exciting,” said Hernandez, who made only eight minor league appearances in the New York Mets organization last year while battling injuries. “The important thing is that now I am healthy and enjoying the opportunity they are giving me. I…Who doesn’t want to be here?”

Hernandez’s departure also offered a possible preview of what’s to come for the Dodgers’ ever-changing pitching staff.

The Dodgers have five established starters on their roster: Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, James Paxton, Gavin Stone and the recently returned Walker Buehler. Over the next two weeks, they may need to work on a sixth, with Bobby Miller recovering from a shoulder injury (he pitched two innings of live batting practice at the club’s complex in Arizona on Wednesday afternoon).

That means the days of bullpen games could be numbered.

And while moving to a six-man rotation would have costs, notably leaving the club with one less reliever in the bullpen, Hernandez’s effort also showed the potential benefits, saving much of the bullpen during this streak of 13 consecutive games.

“We did a good job saving our guys from leverage,” Roberts said. “So yeah, it wasn’t a bullpen game. I guess it was lucky.”

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The Dodgers could have a similar decision to make on the horizon, with their starting pitcher for Sunday’s upcoming series finale against the Cincinnati Reds undecided.

That day Yamamoto is scheduled to pitch on his typical five days of rest. However, with the newcomer still adjusting to his former once-a-week schedule in Japan, Roberts said the club is considering giving him an extra day between outings.

Typically, that would mean a bullpen game. But now, the Dodgers are finally starting to have more pitching options.

Hernandez won’t be ready to pitch Sunday, but another minor league arm, Landon Knack, could. Miller could be ready to rejoin the rotation relatively soon afterward. And the days of the Dodgers needing grueling, fragmented bullpen game plans could almost be a thing of the past.

heyward update

Jason Heyward (back) played the second game of his rehab assignment Wednesday with triple-A Oklahoma City, going hitless in three at-bats with a walk and a running catch in right field.

Roberts said Heyward, who has been out since March 30, may not need any more rehab games. But the team will evaluate how he feels in the coming days.

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This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.

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