While the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has often been a punching bag this season, and at times undeservedly, the pace in which Pedro Baez has pitched with over his last two appearances has drawn plenty of attention.
Baez entered in the seventh inning of Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and immediately found himself in a bases-loaded jam behind two hits and walk. Anaheim went on to score three runs in an inning that lasted more than 30 minutes.
“His tempo was not like we’ve ever seen it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after his club’s loss that night. Roberts also mentioned Baez’s slow pace can have a negative affect on the defense.
Baez was back on the mound Wednesday night in Anaheim, once again taking several seconds between pitches. According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Roberts said the pace Baez works at remains a topic of discussion:
Roberts on Pedro Baez's languid pace: "We talked about his tempo (after same thing Monday) and that's something we continue to talk about"
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 19, 2016
Baez is averaging 30.6 seconds between pitches this season, which would set a career high. Former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly warned the hard-throwing right-hander last season over the amount of time he allowed to pass between pitches.
Given Major League Baseball’s desire to improve pace of play, it’s not beyond reason to believe Baez could be fined.
On the season Baez owns a 4.67 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 22 strikeouts and seven walks in 17.1 innings pitched over 18 appearances. He suffered a scare in April after accidentally being hit on the back of the head by an Adam Liberatore warm-up pitch while in the bullpen at Turner Field.