A hero will arise
It has been a downhill ride since Kenley Jansen gave Dodger fans a heart attack when his heartbeat went on a wild ride but I can’t help but think that over the long run this extended absence will result in someone stepping up and plug the gaping gap that has plagued the Dodgers.
It would be unexpected if that player is Pedro Baez but for one night on Wednesday, he did what no other Dodger had been able to do for five games. Pedro pitched scoreless innings at the back end of a game and gave the Dodger offense the opportunity to break the five game skid.
It won’t be late-season addition John Axford who quickly got hurt and is out for the foreseeable future. Which was too bad because he was one of the few relief pitchers who didn’t implode in Colorado, but he didn’t make it out safely.
It won’t be Tony Cingrani who was a fantastic addition last August but this Cingrani looks to be shelved until September.
It won’t be Josh Fields who might not be back before Kenley Jansen.
It won’t be Tom Koehler who was signed this past winter to help with the loss of Brandon Morrow but never pitched for the Dodgers this year and won’t as he is out for the year.
It seems like the Dodgers lost every game since Friday in the last inning until Wednesday Night but last Friday, they simply gave up the lead in the 7th inning. Zac Rosscup was the culprit last Friday. On Saturday it was Scott Alexander and JT Chargois who combined to blow the 9th inning lead. Sunday it was Dylan Floro who picked a bad time to have his worst outing of 2018. Monday may have been the nadir when Scott Alexander gave up four runs trying to hold a 2 – 1 lead. Pedro Baez got the last out of the 9th inning on Monday. Alex Wood could only go five innings on Tuesday so it was left to the bullpen to save that game. JT Chargois, Dylan Floro, and Caleb Ferguson combined for three shutout innings and turned the game over to Kenta Maeda who had been pulled from the rotation for this occasion. Kenta didn’t have much room for error with the game tied at one and gave up the winning run. Fans were clamoring for Caleb Ferguson to get his chance and he got his chance on Wednesday Night. Caleb entered the game with the Dodgers up by three runs in the eighth inning following a scoreless inning by JT Chargois. Caleb promptly gave up a three-run home run and the score was tied. At that point, most fans were just wondering which Dodger pitcher would give up the winning run, but the worm turned. Erik Goeddel hadn’t pitched since Aug 2nd showed up and gave the Dodgers four big scoreless outs. Erik was followed by Scott Alexander who got three more outs. Dave Roberts held his breath and gave the ball to Pedro Baez who shocked everyone (most everyone) by getting six perfect outs and setting up the Dodgers for the walk off win in the 12th.
So who among those standing can handle the 9th if the Dodgers have the lead? For years Pedro Baez has been the understudy to Kenley Jansen but mixed in with great streaks were some memorable meltdowns and entering Wednesday Night only a few Dodger fans still trusted the ball in his hands. Baez had fallen so far down the pecking order that when he gave up four runs on Aug 9th while recording only one out, it was wildly postulated that Pedro might never pitch for the Dodgers again. Pedro Baez not only pitched for the Dodgers again, he might have saved their season. To bold a statement? Maybe, but he did several things Wednesday Night. He pitched scoreless innings at the end of the game, something no Dodger had done in a week. He gave the team a chance to win. With all the momentum going against him, he gave the Dodgers two perfect innings. Pedro might not pitch again this week but could have earned the Dodger Player of the Week with that effort. One win could be the deciding factor this season.
One huge win.
All of the Dodger pitchers have talent. Chargois, Alexander, Floro, Ferguson, Goeddel, and Kenta could all step up but will any of them do it? Daniel Hudson is on the mend and should join the team this weekend. Julio Urias is not far from joining the bullpen. And Pedro Baez.
I don’t know which one will be the guy who will step up over the next few weeks while the team waits for Kenley Jansen to come back, it might be all of them, it might be none of them, but I’m betting on it being someone because that is Dodger baseball.
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