Like they did from the National League Division Series to the NL Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers made one change to their active roster for the World Series, swapping out lefty reliever Caleb Ferguson with fellow southpaw Scott Alexander.
Alexander was a key part of the Dodgers’ bullpen all season long, appearing in 73 games in the regular season. But he was surprisingly left off the club’s NLCS roster in favor of Julio Urias.
The 29-year-old is back in the mix for the World Series against the Boston Red Sox though, giving the Dodgers a fresh arm out of the bullpen.
Before Game 1 on Tuesday night, manager Dave Roberts explained why they decided to make a roster change, and it had nothing to do with effectiveness, rather Alexander’s ability to pitch on back-to-back days, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“It definitely wasn’t performance,” said Roberts. “It was the ability to bounce back every day. The sinkerballer does add a different element, but it was more about the ability to pitch every day.”
Ferguson made 26 relief appearances for the Dodgers in the regular season and six in the postseason, but only pitched on back-to-back days three times. Alexander, on the other hand, did so 16 times and even pitched on three consecutive days three times.
Despite not being on the World Series roster, Ferguson had an outstanding rookie season for the Dodgers and gained some valuable postseason experience as well. He tossed a combined three shutout innings without allowing a hit across six appearances against the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers.
Alexander posted a 3.68 ERA, 3.57 FIP and 1.27 WHIP with 56 strikeouts and 27 walks in 66 regular-season innings for the Dodgers. He is more of a ground ball pitcher, which can benefit the Dodgers with the short porch in left field at Fenway Park.
Additionally, left-handed hitters slashed just .172/.248/.212 against him in 2018.
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