After a hot start to the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have entered into a bit of a team slump as they have lost five straight games after being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals and dropping their series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night to fall to 8-7 on the year.
Pitching has been a big issue for the Dodgers, and that doesn’t come with much surprise with three of their top five starters currently on the 10-day injured list. Hyun-Jin Ryu was the latest to go down after suffering a groin injury in his last outing.
Although Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to return on Monday, he was not ready to pitch in time to take Ryu’s spot in the rotation Saturday night against the Brewers.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed the club has elected for a bullpen game in which Caleb Ferguson will start, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“We’re going to start Ferguson. I think the bullpen, with where we’re at, we’re in pretty good shape. So, yeah, Caleb will start.”
Ferguson has gotten off to a good start to the season, tossing 6.1 shutout innings while allowing five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in his first seven appearances.
Another candidate to start the game was right-hander Dennis Santana, who was recently recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Santana is built up to throw more innings than Ferguson, so he will likely pitch a few innings in relief. He last pitched on Wednesday when he tossed a scoreless inning against the Cardinals.
The Dodgers’ bullpen has been perhaps their weakest unit to this point in the season, so Saturday will provide a good opportunity for them to get on track.