The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has struggled in the early going, but there’s little reason to panic just yet.
The first week of the regular season has brought mixed results for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sporting a 4-3 record, the Dodgers currently reside in 2nd place in what is expected to be a competitive NL West.
While through these first seven games the Dodgers have hit reasonably well and the starting rotation has been more than serviceable, the output of LA’s bullpen has left something to be desired.
Sporting a sub-par 5.79 ERA with a WHIP of 1.45, the Dodgers bullpen has already caused many to wonder if this will be the Achilles heel for a team that, once again, has World Series aspirations. While this first week might have given many Dodgers fans unwanted anxiety and stress, the good news is that this bullpen is going to be just fine.
Consider the following:
The Sample Size Is WAY Too Small
Pitching stats fluctuate so much through the first few weeks of the regular season. This is especially true for relief pitchers who might only have two or three innings to their credit thus far in 2016. An ERA can rise or drop by double, or in some cases, TRIPLE digits from one start to the next. While it is undoubtedly disconcerting to see someone like J.P. Howell with a 54.00 ERA through three games, that number will drop dramatically over the next few weeks.
Kenley Jansen Has Been Stellar Thus Far
In his first two appearances of 2016, closer Kenley Jansen is two for two in save opportunities and has allowed only one hit in his two innings pitched. He has struck out three and not walked anyone. In recording 144 saves through his seven big league seasons, Jansen is a dependable anchor to the back-end of the Dodgers bullpen and has given every indication that he intends to follow up his 50-save performance in 2015 with another solid campaign.
The Track Record of the Dodgers Relievers Is Too Good
The Dodgers have guys who can flat-out pitch. In addition to Jansen, J.P. Howell is expected to more closely resemble the 1.43 ERA he sported in 2015 as opposed to his lofty 54.00 ERA thus far. Chris Hatcher posted a 3.69 ERA last season and Yimi Garcia managed a 3.34 ERA in 2015. In short, relax Dodgers fans, these guys are going to be just fine.