While the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has struggled as a whole this season, there have been a few relievers to stand out among the rest of the group.
Kenley Jansen has gone through some struggles but he’s converted 12 of 14 save appearances and gone 2-1 thus far. Meanwhile, Pedro Baez, with the exception of a couple rough outings, has additionally thrived in the early going.
So much so that he has earned the trust of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who feels comfortable deploying Baez in high-leverage situations.
Baez’s progression to this point has been nothing short of incredible. It was only two seasons ago in which he was left off each of the Dodgers’ three postseason rosters. The 31-year-old also occasionally received boos from the Dodger Stadium faithful.
Looking back to those gloomy days, Baez revealed the harsh treatment from Dodgers fans never had much of an effect on him, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“It really didn’t affect me because as a pitcher you know the bad times are going to come,” Baez said. “You just simply have to be ready for that and continue to do your job, continue to go out there and try to help your team out. “They’re going to find someone to boo. I can’t really control what the fans do.”
Roberts, along with teammates Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, recently commended Baez for getting past the rocky treatment he has received from the fanbase in the past to bounce back and emerge as a vital piece out of the bullpen.
In 19 games this season, Baez has posted a 3.26 ERA, 2.74 FIP and 0.83 WHIP with 19 strikeouts against four walks over 19.1 innings pitched.
Baez memorably inherited a bases-loaded jam and proceeded to retire each of the three batters faced to keep the Dodgers’ lead in tact. Dating back to April 13, Baez has only allowed two earned runs in his last 10.1 innings of work across 12 appearances — good for a dominant 1.74 ERA.