Kenley Jansen’s latest medical scare has led to a chain of domino effects in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen. Now lacking an established closer, further length was added in starting pitchers Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling transitioning back to relief roles.
That hit a snag when Stripling suffered from back discomfort that was revealed to be caused by two compressed discs. Stripling was subsequently placed on the 10-day disabled list and believes he’ll make a rapid recovery.
The Dodgers are operating without a set reliever in the ninth inning for the time being, though Scott Alexander has received the majority of those opportunities thus far. He has yet to take advantage, however, blowing a save in his recent appearances.
Another left-hander in Caleb Ferguson will also begin seeing more high-leverage opportunities as a result of the success he’s enjoyed during his rookie campaign, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Meanwhile, rookie left-hander Caleb Ferguson will figure more prominently in the bullpen plan, pitching “leverage innings, going back-to-back” days.
Ferguson did falter in his first opportunity, surrendering a game-tying three-run home run to Andrew McCutchen in the eighth inning. The Dodgers went on to defeat the San Francisco Giants in 12 innings.
Prior to Jansen’s latest medical scare, Ferguson had exclusively served in a swingman role for the Dodgers, typically logging multiple innings per appearance while never pitching on back-to-back days.
The left-hander’s role has seemingly changed in the wake of a bullpen shakeup, as the Dodgers now intend to deploy him more frequently in shorter stints.
Ferguson’s last two appearances were back-to-back, marking a first this season. Out of the bullpen, the 22-year-old has compiled a 2.16 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 25 innings pitched (13 games) with 30 strikeouts to only four walks.