The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been lights-out thus far in the postseason, and with the final out in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, the group combined to make postseason history with 23 consecutive scoreless innings.
The streak stretches back to the eighth inning of Game 2 of the NL Division Series. Brandon Morrow was last to allow an opponent to score — surrendering a three-run home run to Brandon Drury of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the seventh inning of Game 2.
Once a weak point in the Dodgers’ playoff runs, the bullpen has served as the backbone of the team for the better part of the past two seasons. The group of relievers utilized by Los Angeles have been dominant even if a bit unorthodox.
Morrow is a converted starting pitcher who was selected two spots ahead of Clayton Kershaw in the 2006 Draft, while Kenta Maeda spent this season in the rotation, Ross Stripling converted to reliever for 2017, and midseason acquisitions Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson had their share of struggles before joining Los Angeles.
In 28.2 innings pitched across eight postseason games, the Dodgers bullpen sports a collective 0.94 ERA and 0.49 WHIP that is tops among the 10 teams that qualified for the playoffs. Their .125 batting average against, .160 opponents’ on-base percentage, and .177 opponents’ slugging are also top marks.
The Dodgers bullpen was particularly dominant against the Chicago Cubs, pitching a 17 scoreless innings, with only six baserunners allowed (four hits, one walk, one hit by pitch), compared to 22 strikeouts.
Kenley Jansen leads the relievers up to this point in the postseason with 12 strikeouts, while Morrow is first with 8.1 innings pitched and retired 14 of 16 Cubs batters faced.
Not to be overlooked, Watson retired all seven batters faced in the NLCS, and Maeda has retired each of his 15 batters faced in the playoffs, including seven by strike out.