After an impressive rookie season in 2018, Caleb Ferguson hasn’t quite been able to replicate similar results in a sophomore campaign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 22-year-old nonetheless jumped out to an excellent start this season, not allowing a run over his first seven appearances. His success was short-lived, however, as Ferguson would go on to yield five combined runs over his next four games before suffering an oblique injury.
Ferguson was subsequently placed on the 10-day injured list, where he would miss the next three weeks of play before returning to the Dodgers in mid-May. Despite being healthy again, the southpaw’s struggles would continue.
Ferguson allowed six runs in four appearances during the month of May, which led to the club optioning him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He recently returned to Los Angeles as a result of Scott Alexander being placed on the 10-day injured list with forearm inflammation.
Ferguson tossed 1.2 scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in his return, striking out three while showing excellent command of his pitches.
After some initial struggles with a curveball this season, Ferguson believes the pitch has returned to an effective level, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“I think the curve is back,” Ferguson said. “There are going to be days when not everything feels perfect, but on those days, I feel … better? Before, when I didn’t have it, it wasn’t even close. Now, on days I’m not sure about the curve, I’ll land three out of five as opposed to one out of five. I’m giving myself a better chance.”
Ferguson credits his time with the Oklahoma City Dodgers for allowing him to refine his curveball in a low-pressure environment:
“Something just clicked,” Ferguson said. “To be honest, there’s not really one huge change that I made. It’s kind of funny. I went down there, I was literally just playing catch and felt the best I’ve felt all year. I pretty much took that catch to the mound and ran with it.”
With Tony Cingrani ruled out for the season and Alexander currently sidelined, the Dodgers have leaned on Ferguson as their primary left-handed specialist for the time being.
In 20 overall appearances this season (one start) for L.A., Ferguson is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA, 6.12 FIP and 1.59 WHIP across 21.1 innings pitched. He logged 3.2 scoreless innings over two appearances after re-joining the Dodgers before allowing a solo home run Wednesday night.