Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Sticking With Status Quo In Bullpen
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

After opening the 2016 season with a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres, the past five games have been tough sledding for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As routinely has been the case in recent years, the bullpen finds itself bearing the brunt of the blame for the club’s struggles.

The Dodgers attempted to address their inconsistent group of relievers during the offseason, reaching an agreement to trade for electric closer Aroldis Chapman. However, it came undone once a report surfaced detailing Chapman’s involvement in a domestic dispute.

Los Angeles did go on to sign long reliever Joe Blanton, and Louis Coleman, who beat out Luis Avilan for the final spot in the bullpen. The organization otherwise put their faith in those returning, with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman expressing confidence the young relievers would improve from experience gained last season.

That appeared to be the case early, with the Dodgers bullpen throwing eight shutout innings against the Padres. Despite their stumbles in the series with the San Francisco Giants, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the group would overcome their troubles, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:

“I think the ‘pen’s going to be fine,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said supportively – and predictably. “It’s always tough to lose games, especially late.

That of course was prior to the bullpen failing to back up Kenta Maeda’s six scoreless innings on Tuesday in the Dodgers’ 2016 home opener. Pedro Baez and Chris Hatcher were each tagged for a solo home run, while Coleman allowed two runs.

According to ESPN’s Doug Padilla, Roberts said he isn’t at the point of considering a change in roles:

“Right now you want to give these guys confidence and give them opportunities,” Roberts said. “I expect them to be in a lot of games late, and we’re going to need them. If we want to have a great season, a winning season, we’re going to need those guys in the pen. So, for me, it’s way too early for me to think about changing roles.”

Based off usage thus far, Baez and Hatcher are tasked with getting the ball to closer Kenley Jansen; Yimi Garcia and J.P. Howell have been sprinkled in latter stages of games as well. In the four-game series at AT&T Park, the bullpen allowed 12 runs and walked six batters in 10.2 innings of work.