Dodgers @ Cubs Sept. 21, 2014: The Bullpen Game

Dodgers
Cubs
11:20 a.m.
Chicago
2B
Gordon
LF
Coghlan
CF
Puig
SS
Baez
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Rizzo
RF
Kemp
3B
Valbuena
SS
Ramirez
C
Castillo
LF
Crawford
CF
Alcantara
3B
Uribe
2B
Valaika
C
Ellis
RF
Szczur
P
Wright (R)
P
Turner (R)

Today is the moment we’ve all been “waiting” for, the bullpen game in mid September. Caused by Carlos Frias‘ implosion in Colorado and Kevin Correia‘s general pitching incompetence, we’re left with Jamey Wright starting for a contender in the middle of a pennant race. Oddly, this is not the first time that this has happened. On September 1st of last year, the Rays started Wright against the A’s. They were contending, 4.5 games behind Boston for the division lead, but firmly holding the second wild card position over the Yankees. Wright pitched 1-2/3 innings in his “start”, allowing a Coco Crisp leadoff home run but otherwise limiting the damage. It was basically a respectable relief outing, though the A’s would go on to win the game 5-1 as the bullpen behind Wright faltered.

The bullpen behind Wright today is super shaky, too. We all saw what happened yesterday, and even for an expanded roster bullpen they’ve been putting in inordinate amount of work. In the last six games, they’ve pitched 27-2/3 innings, compared to 23-1/3 for the starting pitchers. That ratio will obviously get even worse today; Don Mattingly stated before the game that Wright will be able to go 50 pitches or three innings. There are thirteen pitchers active and ready in the bullpen, though it’s probably a safe assumption that J.P. Howell will not be available today after struggling on Friday and Saturday afternoons. It could be Paco Rodriguez‘ time to make an impression; it seems like he’s the logical choice for second bullpen lefty in the playoffs thus far.

Backing up the cavalcade of relievers is pretty much the standard right-handed starter lineup. Juan Uribe is back from his tight side/groin/whatever, which is a good sign.  They’ll be facing former top prospect Jacob Turner, who the Marlins somewhat inexplicably DFAd earlier this year. The Dodgers saw him in May and roughed him up, scoring five runs on eight hits in 5-1/3 innings pitched. Turner has been really struggling to miss bats in his 24-2/3 innings with the Cubs, posting a low 4.38 K/9 ratio and a 6.93 ERA (his FIP is a bit better at 4.59). Turner still has a lot of potential, but the Dodgers will need his issues to continue in order to have a chance at this one.

The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the western division is now five, after the Giants were shut down by Andrew Cashner last night. If that number goes down by one today, the Dodgers will be able to clinch the division against the Giants at home by winning that series. As of now, it is looking pretty likely that the Dodgers will have a rematch against the Cardinals in the NLDS, since they’re 2.5 games back of the Nationals for the best record in the league. The Dodgers are currently one game up (and hold the tiebreaker) for home field advantage against the Cardinals.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.