Last season the Los Angeles Dodgers relied upon their bullpen arguably more than any other club. The group met the challenge, rising to the occasion several instances throughout the year. There was uncertainty heading into the offseason, with Kenley Jansen among the Dodgers’ free agents.
Jansen was re-signed, but Joe Blanton, who went from expected long reliever to effective setup man, signed with the Washington Nationals. It wasn’t as though the Nationals moved quickly to pry the right-hander from the Dodgers. Blanton didn’t sign until last February.
Prior to that point, Los Angeles seemingly addressed their need for a late-inning reliever by signing Sergio Romo. Thus far the former San Francisco Giants closer has struggled to find his footing while pitching for his childhood team.
After another subpar relief appearance, Romo voiced some confusion over what’s plagued him thus far, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“I can’t sit there and put my finger on one thing, like, ‘This is exactly what’s wrong,’” Romo said. “I can’t. I feel good. I feel fine. I feel strong. The ball is coming out of my hand well. It just seems to be that one pitch every outing.”
Romo entered in the fifth inning with a runner on first base and nobody out. The Dodgers were trailing 5-4. After getting DJ LeMahieu to strike out, Romo surrendered a two-run home run to Nolan Arenado.
The homer came on a slider that had little bite to it, which has been a common theme. Romo ended his lone inning of work on back-to-back strikeouts. In 16 games this season, he yields an 8.03 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.
Romo has allowed two home runs in 12.1 innings, and 11 runs on 12 hits. Though, five of those runs came when the Dodgers bullpen imploded at Chase Field on April 21.
Romo’s performance may eventually render him to low-leverage situations, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has not given any indication such a decision is forthcoming.