Staked to a 7-3 lead, it seemed that Don Mattingly could relax with the knowledge that he could rest his bullpen to some degree. Overtaxed in recent games, the bullpen certainly could have used a relatively easy game. Instead, the bullpen could not hold onto a lead, and the Los Angeles Dodgers had to use five relievers to get a win against the Miami Marlins in extra innings.
In those five innings of work, Dodger relievers gave up four runs on five hits and six walks, striking out four in the process. This continuing trend is troubling, as the bullpen was supposed to be an area of strength after Ned Colletti spent the offseason assembling what should have been an intimidating corps of relievers.
After Paul Maholm pitched six solid innings, Mattingly turned to Brian Wilson in the seventh. After allowing two baserunners, Wilson gave up a three-run homer to Miguel Ozuna, bringing the Marlins to within one. J.P. Howell got the Dodgers out of the inning, but Wilson had already given the Marlins new life.
While Wilson had been struggling throughout the first portion of the season, Mattingly still had reliable options in Chris Withrow and Chris Perez, both of whom faced difficulties in their appearance against the Marlins. Withrow did not give up any runs, but he got into trouble by walking two batters. Perez came on with a chance for the save, but instead walked in the tying run after loading the bases in the ninth.
Ultimately, it was Brandon League who was able to earn the win for the Dodgers, pitching two relatively efficient innings of relief, striking out two and walking one on 23 pitches. League has been unexpectedly reliable this year, and he currently boasts a 2.20 ERA on the 2014 season.
After allowing the Marlins back in the game, Carl Crawford was able to bail the Dodgers out, crushing a two-run home run off of Carlos Marmol after having been inserted in the lineup on a double-switch.
The Dodgers cannot continue to endure these bullpen issues, as a team with postseason aspirations cannot easily overcome consistently shaky relief efforts.Tags: Baseball, Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Chris Withrow, Don Mattingly, J.P. Howell, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB