Reds @ Dodgers August 14, 2015: Chris Hatcher is Back

Reds
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
2B
Phillips
SS
Rollins
SS
Suarez
2B
Hernandez
1B
Votto
3B
Turner
3B
Frazier
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Bruce
LF
Van Slyke
LF
Byrd
RF
Puig
C
Peña
C
Grandal
P
Lamb (L)
CF
Pederson
CF
Hamilton
P
Wood (L)

Before tonight’s game with the Reds, there is plenty of news to talk about, the biggest of which is the return of Chris Hatcher (don’t everybody cheer at once). I wrote before the season that I really liked Hatcher’s potential and I still do. This bullpen is terrible and he has a chance to help. How much he can help depends on which version of Hatcher shows up. He struck out 15 batters in 8-1/3 innings in April, but just four batters in 10 innings in May and June. His May K:BB ratio was 1/2, which is really bad, clearly. The natural question is how much his oblique injury impacted his performance before hitting the disabled list. If he can replicate what he did in Miami (and, to an extent, what his early peripheral numbers showed in Los Angeles), he’ll be a very useful addition to the bullpen. If the May and June numbers come back, then there’s a problem. Time will tell.

Hatcher’s been on the verge of returning for a few days now, and how the Dodgers would make room for him remained an open question. The assumption was that Yimi Garcia would be optioned, since he’d be back in two weeks. That would have been less than optimal but the impact would have been short-term. Instead, Juan Nicasio was sent to the disabled list with an ab strain. That’s not great – Nicasio’s 2.66 FIP from the bullpen is third among Dodger relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. Most of that FIP is due to home run prevention, and somewhat masked the fact that he has a walk problem. Nicasio’s xFIP was worst among the same group of relievers. Either way, Nicasio was one of the better Dodger relievers at inducing ground balls (second highest GB%) and missing bats. This seems like more than a phantom DL stint, since he was pretty useful.

Hatcher was on the 60 day DL, so a move had to be made to fit him on the 40-man roster. Carlos Frias was added to the 60 day DL due to his ongoing back problems which is also pretty unfortunate. The dream of him coming out of the bullpen (where he has probably belonged all along) and throwing 98 is mostly dead, at least for this year.

Yasmani Grandal is back in the lineup after missing one game due to a sore shoulder. Justin Turner is also making his first start after returning from the disabled list.

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.