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#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Remarkable stat shows how much Dodgers’ bullpen has struggled

As it stands, the Los Angeles Dodgers would not make the playoffs if they were to start today, a huge surprise and disappointment given the talent that they have on show.

The Dodgers’ underlying numbers are solid. They’ve scored more runs and allowed fewer than any of their National League counterparts, and their run differential, typically a decent indicator of the basic strength of a team, is the best in the NL at +116, 15 runs ahead of the Cubs’ +101.

As Jon Morosi points out, however, there’s a good reason that run differential isn’t really indicative of the Dodgers’ win-loss record.

The Dodgers’ 3.96 bullpen ERA sits roughly in the middle of the pack in all of baseball, but the mark is 4.40 since the All-Star break and 5.35 in the month of August, a month that’s seen the bullpen go 3-9. In fact, of the Dodgers’ 12 August losses, a reliever has taken the loss in nine of them, including three walk-offs. The return of Kenley Jansen hasn’t even helped much.

The Dodgers have the offense and starting pitching to do what they need to do in October. If the bullpen doesn’t sort itself out, they might have to watch the playoffs from home.

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