The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been one of the best in baseball this season as their 3.32 ERA ranks second in the Majors. That has plenty to do with unexpected contributions from multiple relievers.
Among them is Adam Liberatore, who began the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but quickly joined the Dodgers. The 29-year-old went on a historic streak during the first half of the season, setting a franchise record by amassing 24 consecutive scoreless appearances.
The streak ended in the middle of July, and Liberatore soon after was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation. It was the second injury he dealt with, coming after knee soreness rendered Liberatore unavailable for a brief stretch.
The southpaw has hardly matched his previous success since returning from the DL. Liberatore tossed four scoreless innings over four appearances after being reinstated, but then allowed a combined six runs in his next three games.
He went one week between relief appearances, and last pitched Sept. 9. Although Liberatore has not been heard from of late, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said this week that will change, via David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports Radio:
“Since the break he hasn’t been as successful as we would have liked as far as getting outs. Then he had the injury where we gave him some time off. And I think for me, maybe I tried to ease him in a little too much. In this next week I’m going to lean on him a little bit more. I think part of it was, I was trying to make sure physically he’s in a good place and somewhere we feel he can sustain it. That’s why there’s been intermittent outings. But now we’re to a point where we have to see where we’re at with him.”
Liberatore has thrown just 1.1 innings this month. He had a 0.55 ERA in 33 innings pitched over 42 appearances through July 22. On the season Liberatore owns a 3.20 ERA.
If he’s unable to shake free from recent struggles, it could equate to being left off a potential postseason roster. The Dodgers acquired Liberatore from the Tampa Bay Rays after the 2014 season.
He made his Major League debut in 2015 and sported a 4.25 ERA in 29.2 innings in 39 games.