The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been perhaps the team’s biggest weakness so far this season, and that was on display in Saturday night’s loss to the Washington Nationals.
Walker Buehler outdueled three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, tossing seven shutout innings to help Los Angeles carry a 2-0 lead into the eighth.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers bullpen was not able to hold onto that lead and the Nationals earned a 5-2 come-from-behind victory. While a costly error played a role in the loss, a few of the team’s relievers also did not execute when they needed to.
One example of that was when left-hander Scott Alexander was brought in to face Juan Soto with the bases loaded. Alexander was not able to put Soto away, and he wound up allowing a base hit to left field to bring home a run.
That was the only batter Alexander faced on the night before being removed in favor of Dylan Floro, who went on to give up a game-winning grand slam to Gerardo Parra.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed Alexander’s ineffectiveness may be related to some discomfort he’s dealing with, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times
“I think there’s a little something with Scotty’s [left] hip, his delivery, and he hasn’t had that consistent sinker or slider,” Roberts said. “We need him to get back to the form we’ve seen in the past.”
Although Roberts suggested it was hip trouble, Alexander explained the issue is with his hamstring that stemmed from recently pitching against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park:
“I was landing just short of the hole [on the mound] and I would slide out a little bit more, and I overstretched it, I overtweaked it,” Alexander said. “They did a good job of giving me a day here and there, but it’s just been a lingering thing.”
“I don’t know yet if it’s something that’s affecting how I’m pitching, but that’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Alexander said. “I want to be out there, but if it’s one of those things where I’m not helping the team, it’s a perfect time to get it right.”
Alexander’s overall statistics are not that bad. He has posted a 2.84 ERA, 3.89 FIP and 1.26 WHIP with nine strikeouts and four walks in 12.2 innings across 20 appearances on the year.
He is typically relied upon to get left-handed batters out, and so far he has not been able to do that. Southpaws are hitting .346/.370/.500 compared to righties, who are slashing just .136/.269/.182.
Alexander was outstanding against left-handed hitters in 2018, limiting them to a .178/.248/.212 batting line.
With Caleb Ferguson and Tony Cingrani due back from the 10-day injured list soon, it may afford the Dodgers an opportunity to give Alexander a break to reset.