Dave Roberts: Dodgers Bullpen Thriving By Relying On ‘Next Man Up’

The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen was expected to be a strength of the team this season, and they have been, just in an unconventional way.

They’ve dealt with multiple injuries, including to some of their top relievers. Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly and Ryan Brasier are all on the 15-day injured list, while Blake Treinen just recently returned.

While that would create issues for most teams, the Dodgers have seen their bullpen thrive.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts credited the pitchers for stepping up and taking advantage of their opportunities, via Juan Toribio of MLB.com:

“I think it’s the old adage, ‘next man up’-type thing,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Four out of your top five leverage guys are not with us right now, and so it creates opportunities. … You get other guys that are pitching huge innings, and we’re learning more about these guys.”

Will Smith, who is behind the plate to catch most of the relievers, is seeing a group that’s making their pitches and putting themselves into opportunities to excel:

“[They’re] just executing pitches,” Smith said. “They get into situations and are able to get out of it. Right now, guys are throwing the ball well, and just try to keep it going.”

Alex Vesia and Ryan Yarbrough have arguably been the most important pieces to the Dodgers’ bullpen success as both have stepped up in a big way.

Michael Grove has also exceled in a single-inning role, and Daniel Hudson has been a fairly consistent option as a high-leverage piece.

The Dodgers starting pitching also deserves some credit as they have been able to pitch deep into games, taking some pressure off the bullpen.

Dodgers seeing progress with Evan Phillips

Evan Phillips threw a bullpen as he continues to move closer toward a return to the Dodgers. However, he is still without an exact timetable.

“Evan was good,” Roberts said about the bullpen session. “I think it’s maybe Saturday that he’s going to be back on the mound, but he was good. Every day has been good and we’re just trying to have a net positive every time he gets through a day.

“And so there’s no expectation on when he’s going to be back, just each day, just get better. That’s kind of the hope.”

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