With the Los Angeles Dodgers coming off a six-game road trip, they elected to remain with eight relievers in the bullpen on Monday night. One change was made, as Louis Coleman was reinstated from the bereavement list, which corresponded with Luis Avilan being optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
But even with an eight-man bullpen, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was limited in his options to back Ross Stripling. The rookie right-hander labored through 5.1 innings, allowing three runs and earning the first decision of his young Major League career — a loss.
With the game tied and Stripling already at 95 pitches, Roberts allowed him to bat in the bottom of the fifth. “I just felt we could get him through another inning, with the bottom of the order,” Roberts explained after his club’s loss to the Miami Marlins.
“And with the state of our pen, we had a lot of guys down today. We even extended Joe (Blanton).” Roberts went on say Pedro Baez, Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen were unavailable in the four-game series opener.
“It’s tough on a pen coming from Denver, so we need to get some length out of our starters,” Roberts said. Blanton threw 21 pitches over 1.1 innings on Monday night, and Roberts doesn’t expect him to be available Tuesday. The same holds true for Adam Liberatore.
Baez appeared in each of the previous three games heading into the first of a seven-game homestand. Hatcher and Jansen came on in relief in four of the past five, including back-to-back saves for Jansen to close out the series with the Colorado Rockies.
Zach Lee wasn’t yet optioned to Triple-A, which initially was expected. He began warming up during the bottom of the ninth when the Dodgers had the tying run reach base. Lee hasn’t appeared in a game since being recalled on April 23.
Baez, Coleman, Hatcher, J.P. Howell and Jansen are expected to be available Tuesday. Of course, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound, Roberts very well may not need to make but one or two calls to his bullpen.