With Kenley Jansen on the 10-day disabled list because of an irregular heartbeat that may keep him out until September, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts faces a reality of leaning on relief pitchers without much of a track record — or success — in high-leverage situations.
There would appear to be but a few relievers who can be entrusted in such situations. Among them is rookie Caleb Ferguson, who began the season with Double-A Tulsa and had a brief stint with Triple-A Oklahoma City before making his MLB debut in June.
Ferguson initially joined the Dodgers to help fill a void in their starting rotation that was caused by injuries. He’s since been transitioned into a role out of the bullpen, which the left-hander has responded well to.
Saturday’s loss to the Colorado Rockies marked a second in a row for the Dodgers since Jansen was placed on the DL. Though, it was no fault of Ferguson’s. He needed just 15 pitches to retire the side in order in the eighth inning, preserving the Dodgers’ 2-0 lead.
Scott Alexander and J.T. Chargois failed to close the game out in the ninth. When asked about the possibility of leaving Ferguson in for a second inning of work, Roberts explained that had already been decided against, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
Roberts indicated it was “predetermined” before the game that Ferguson could pitch only one inning.
Roberts’ remarks coincide with his previous comment of the team intending to use Ferguson in shorter stints down the stretch of the season. Thus far, eight of Ferguson’s 10 relief appearances have been one-plus innings.