It has been four straight years now that the Dodgers have lost in the NLDS or NLCS. Before that, in 08’ and 09’, LA lost in the NLCS back-to-back years. They finally took action last offseason by firing Don Mattingly. However, they still failed to reach the Series this past season. So, what is the roadblock for this current Dodger team?
It’s simple; Kenley Jansen needs a dominant set-up man. The last few seasons have been proof. KC had Wade Davis to Greg Holland, Cubbies had Rondon/Strop to Chapman, Indians had Miller and Allen, and so on. Having the best ERA statistically all of 2016 didn’t matter much when it came to the postseason for the Blue Crew’s pen. They took a 2-1 game lead on the Cubbies, but Chicago eventually figured out how to hit LA’s relievers.
Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were the only legitimate reasons Cleveland put the Cubs on the brink of elimination. Without one of those guys, it would have been a shorter series. At the end of the LA-CHC series, the only man Roberts was trusting out of the pen was Jansen. Matter of fact, the rest of the Dodgers bullpen was so untrustworthy that Jansen pitched 2+ innings three times.
Roberts was a genius with the bullpen during the regular season. The new Dodgers’ skipper shattered the record for most pitching changes in a season. In result the 13+ available relievers accumulated 90+ innings more of work than any other bullpen. But, the key highlight there is 13+. For example, in 2015, KC only used 9 relievers who logged 20+ innings each. So, one would ask how they did it with such little depth. Closer Greg Holland had a wonderful set-up man in Wade Davis.
Kenley Jansen had Joe Blanton for the most part, and others. Blanton was one of the best bullpen arms during the regular season, but got hit hard when it mattered. The rest of the LA’s pen had good/average relievers who entered games in different situations. The Dodgers need a dominant arm to go hand in hand with Jansen, a guy who can come in and dominate any situation.
Ironically Greg Holland is available on the free agent market right now for cheap. Others include Drew Storen and Brad Ziegler. And that’s just the free agent market. David Robertson and Alex Colome are Both on the trade block. Signing back Jansen and turner was key, but the Dodgers haven’t moved any closer to a championship then when their season ended. Focusing on solidifying the outfield should not be the Dodgers’ main concern. Having a two-headed monster to close out a game behind a deep pitching staff and offense lead by Corey Seager is what will bring a WS trophy to LA.