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The Bullpen? Oh Yeah, The Bullpen
2005-01-11 11:15
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Just felt like talking about Wilson Alvarez and the out-of-the-spotlight Dodger bullpen today.

Some carefully husked 2004 stats for Alvarez:

IP/ERA Category

14.0/2.57 April
29.1/3.68 May
10.1/5.23 June
30.2/2.93 July
20.0/7.65 August
14.1/3.14 September
2.0/0.00 October

70.1/3.20 Home
50.1/5.19 Away

76.1/4.95 As starter
44.1/2.44 As reliever

41.0/5.27 Day
79.2/3.39 Night

18.2/13.50 vs. Braves, Mets and Phillies
102.0/2.29 vs. others

OPS allowed vs. right-handed batters: .584 (333 AB)
OPS allowed vs. left-handed batters: .869 (114 AB)

Strikeouts: 102 in 120.2 innings. Walks: 31.

If Alvarez remains in the bullpen this season, odds are he will give the Dodgers some smothering performances - which no doubt will lead to calls for him to re-enter the rotation. And it should be said that Alvarez is not a lefty specialist in the Tom Martin/Jesse Orosco mode. You get more out of him if you let him face righties as well.

Note that outside of Eric Gagne, the Dodgers will have five or six other relievers earning a combined total of under $5 million. And all six have strong credentials as relievers. The weakest link would be Elmer Dessens, who pitched well in relief last season but has been inconsistent.

(Edwin Jackson will probably begin the season in the Los Angeles or Las Vegas starting rotation. If the Dodgers do keep a seventh reliever, look perhaps for another lefty in the Martin/Orosco mode. Anyone got Jesse's number, by the way?)

There could be other changes. Remember in 2003, Giovanni Carrara was considered a lock to make the staff after a solid 2002, only to be released before the end of Spring Training.

In any event, pitchers like Alvarez, Duaner Sanchez and Yhency Brazoban could once again combine with Gagne to provide a dandy Dodger bullpen, one that only requires six solid innings per game from a starting rotation that should be equipped to provide them regularly.

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