Dave Roberts: Dodgers Fared Well, Learned With Bullpen Games
Austin Barnes, David Price, Dave Roberts, Justin Turner, pitching change
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After Dustin May went down due to injury that required Tommy John surgery, the Los Angeles Dodgers were without a fifth starter for four games.

With only four healthy starting pitchers, the Dodgers opted to fill the final rotation spot through bullpen games until Tony Gonsolin returned from the 60-day injured list.

While it wasn’t an ideal situation for the team, manager Dave Roberts said it worked out much better than anticipated. “The guys in the ‘pen — namely David Price and Jimmy Nelson — really stepped up,” Roberts recently said.

“I think those guys being able to take down some innings, and also we had a chance to learn about some other guys; some guys that are here with us, some guys that are not. To have four of those bullpen games, we weathered it and got through it as good as we could’ve hoped.”

Now, with Gonsolin filling the final rotation spot, the Dodgers theoretically don’t need to ask any of their relievers to throw extra pitches in a game because of a short bullpen.

“Having Tony’s innings, or that fifth starter whoever it might be, is certainly crucial,” Roberts said. “I think we managed pretty well with those four bullpen games, but having the ability to distribute bullpen usage a little bit more to potentially cut back on usage of a couple guys [in the starting rotation], is only a good thing.”

Of course, Gonsolin has yet to provide much length as control and right shoulder fatigue resulted in three short outings.

Despite the four bullpen games, the Dodgers have still been able to manage their pitchers’ workloads. While their starting pitchers are second in baseball with 422.2 innings pitched, the team’s relievers have thrown a total of 244.1 innings, which places them 25th overall.

Roberts also said he is comfortable with the workloads of starting pitchers Walker Buehler and Julio Urias so far this season.

“I think you’ve got to balance the long-term, the history and what we expect from guys individually, with winning a baseball game, how things are going and managing usage in the bullpen,” Roberts said. “I think up to this point we’ve done a great job.”

Gonsolin recovered from shoulder trouble

After going just 3.2 innings in his previous start, Gonsolin is confident his right shoulder fatigue is no longer an issue heading into Friday’s outing against the Chicago Cubs.

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