The Los Angeles Dodgers had a rough series against the Philadelphia Phillies as after they won the opener, they dropped a 16-inning game and then the finale on Wednesday to lose their first series in almost a month.
The 16-inning loss, in particular, was a difficult one considering they had plenty of chances to score and then wound up running out of pitching. Utilityman Kiké Hernandez had to take the mound in the 16th and gave up a walk-off home run to Trevor Plouffe.
Despite throwing Hernandez, the Dodgers did actually have one reliever remaining in the bullpen in young left-hander Caleb Ferguson. Although, he’d thrown 50 pitches just two days prior, so he was unavailable according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Ferguson went on to pitch two shutout innings in Wednesday’s series finale, which brings up the question of why he couldn’t pitch just 12 hours prior when the team needed him.
That decision was not up to Ferguson, as he said he would have liked to pitch and felt like he let his team down, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I kind of almost feel like I let the team down a little bit. My job is to pitch, and I didn’t last night. I also understood why: I threw 50 pitches and took one day [off]. I’m still young. Let’s be smart about it. I told them I’m good to throw, whatever you need, but [Roberts] told me before the game I was down. I was begging in the bullpen, ‘Let me throw!'” — Ferguson
Given that Ferguson is just 22 years old, the Dodgers were looking out for his best interest by not forcing him into action to help win one regular-season game.
He is starting to become an essential part of the bullpen, posting a 1.00 ERA with 24 strikeouts and just two walks in 18 innings since being moved into a relief role. Ferguson has mainly been used as a long reliever but could find himself in high-leverage innings if he continues to pitch the way he has in recent weeks.
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