Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Bullpen (Page 3 of 5)

Dodgers hold pregame bullpen meeting

Yimi Garcia (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Yimi Garcia (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodgers at A’s, 12:35 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Scott Van Slyke, DH
Joc Pederson, CF
Kiké Hernandez, 2B
(Alex Wood, P)
Note: Yasiel Puig is day to day with his right hamstring injury. He will not play today, but could serve as a designated hitter this weekend in Houston.

By Jon Weisman

Even amid the struggles of the bullpen over the past two months, Tuesday’s loss to Oakland after leading 4-1 in the eighth hit the Dodgers (like their fans) particularly hard.

As I write this, members of the bullpen are having an unusual on-field meeting out in right field of Oakland’s Coliseum. Bullpen coach Chuck Crim is leading the meeting, according to KLAC’s David Vassegh, Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles added that “Kenley Jansen is doing a lot of talking.”

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Dodgers go from aggravated to elated to defeated

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By Jon Weisman

Some notes to pass along after a tough 5-4, 10-inning Dodger loss to the A’s tonight …

  • Clayton Kershaw lowered his ERA again, to 2.34, after allowing one run in seven innings and 116 pitches. It was a fiery night from Kershaw, who fired a baseball into the Dodger dugout (low enough not to harm anyone) after failing to make a play on an infield chopper to his right.
  • A.J. Ellis had a tiebreaking three-run home run in the eighth inning and four walks tonight, becoming the first Major Leaguer to do so since Jose Canseco in 1996 (noted by Bob Timmermann). Ellis also had his angry moment, jawing with home-plate umpire Tim Tichenor over a late timeout call.
  • Pedro Baez surrendered three runs and the lead in the bottom of the eighth. In the past month, opponents had a 0.68 ERA and 0.68 WHIP against Baez with a .200 on-base percentage.
  • Yimi Garcia pitched a perfect ninth inning, but allowed back-to-back doubles with none out in the 10th to end the game. Garcia had thrown 6 1/3 shutout innings this month, stranding two inherited runners, before those doubles.
  • Yasiel Puig left tonight’s game in the eighth inning with right hamstring tightness after beating out an infield single. As Ken Gurnick of notes, it was a strained left hamstring that sidelined Puig earlier this season.
  • The Dodgers walked nine times in a loss for the first time since an April 7, 2010 defeat against the Pirates.
  • Ron Roenicke, Don Mattingly and Farhan Zaidi discussed Roenicke’s hiring as Dodger third-base coach, Gurnick reports.

Jim Johnson ‘True or False’ Test

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

1) True or false: A pitcher’s likelihood for success is entirely determined by how he pitched in his previous four games.

Pencils down.

* * *

Jim Johnson hasn’t pitched since suffering through an eight-run seventh inning Sunday at Pittsburgh — the single worst inning of his 505-inning career. He’s due to return in this four-game series against Cincinnati, perhaps as soon as tonight.

When he warms up, or when he enters the game, some will freak out over his unsightly 29.45 ERA through four games as a Dodger — somehow ignoring, for example, his 2.25 ERA in 49 games with Atlanta. (Not that we should be using ERA to evaluate relievers, but that’s the stat that has everyone’s attention.)

From June 9 through July 17, Johnson faced 64 batters, and none scored. Nor did an inherited runner score. (There was only one who could have, but he didn’t!) No one even got an extra-base hit.

Still, that didn’t mean Johnson would never allow any runs again — because this is baseball.

And over the past two weeks, did Johnson ever get reminded “this is baseball.”

So anyway, next time his number is called — next time any struggling player’s number is called — how about we skip the doomsday vision and just see what happens? Not saying you have to like it when things go south. Just suggesting not to assume they will.

Oyster Burns: How the Dodgers got shelled


Oyster Burns (Brooklyn, 1888-1895)

By Jon Weisman

How unlikely was the Dodger bullpen meltdown in Monday’s 10-6 loss to Arizona?

  • Joel Peralta (one inning, two-run homer): Hadn’t allowed two runs in a game for 11 straight appearances. Hadn’t allowed a two-run homer since June 27, 2014.
  • Yimi Garcia (one inning, two-run homer): Hadn’t allowed two earned runs in a game or a two-run homer for 12 straight appearances.
  • Juan Nicasio (one inning, two runs): Allowed two runs in an inning once (June 7) in 24 appearances this season.
  • Adam Liberatore (1/3 innings, two inherited runs): Had stranded 10 of 14 inherited runners this season.
  • Pedro Baez (one inning, four runs): Had allowed three runs all season in 16 appearances.
  • J.P. Howell (1/3 inning, two inherited runs): Since the start of the 2014 season, had stranded 44 of 49 inherited runners, never allowing two to score in a game. But then Paul Goldschmidt came to the plate.

That all blew up in the same game, ending the Dodgers’ 26-game winning streak when scoring at least six runs, wasting the fourth-inning home runs by Yasmani Grandal, Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson.

And the Dodgers took it hard.

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Dodger bullpen asserts itself in saving Chicago split

By Jon Weisman

Probably all anyone will remember about the Dodger bullpen from this series at Chicago was the 10th-inning loss Tuesday.

But here are the Dodger reliever totals from the four games: 13 innings, 12 baserunners, nine strikeouts, 1.38 ERA, five inherited runners, four stranded.

That includes 8 1/3 shutout innings in the past 20 hours to help the Dodgers come away with a 4-0 victory today and a (drum roll) a split on the road against (cymbal crash) a winning team.

In all of 2015, no bullpen in the National League has allowed a lower on-base percentage or slugging percentage than the Dodger bullpen. And no NL bullpen has a higher strikeout rate or strikeout-walk ratio in 2015 than the Dodger bullpen.

It is still not a top-of-the-line group when it comes to run prevention: fourth-best in ERA (2.99), eighth in stranding inherited runners (26 percent). The latter is compounded by the fact that only the Giants have bequeathed more runners to their relievers this year.

And after throwing more than 50 pitches each of the past three games, the relievers could use a bit of relief themselves.

So there is still room for improvement. But as I wrote earlier this month, the Dodger bullpen has come a long way.

Big crowd on Dodger injury rehab train

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Dodgers at Padres, 1:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, LF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Scott Van Slyke and Joel Peralta began their rehab assignments Saturday, as Ken Gurnick of notes.

The timing of Van Slyke’s return is noteworthy in part because the Dodgers will use a designated hitter for the first time this season when they play Monday and Tuesday at Texas. Alex Guerrero seems like an obvious choice, but Van Slyke could also figure in the mix as he works his way back into active duty.

(Update: Don Mattingly told reporters today that the Dodgers planned to have Van Slyke play left field for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga today and first base Monday, then take Tuesday off and be activated in Los Angeles on Wednesday if all goes well.)

The Dodgers are scheduled to face righties Yovani Gallardo and Chi Chi Gonzalez in Arlington. The 23-year-old Gonzalez has a 0.42 ERA after three career Major League starts, totaling 21 2/3 innings, though with only eight strikeouts.

Here’s an excerpt from Gurnick’s update:

Van Slyke, healing from a strained mid-back muscle, went 1-for-4 with a double and strikeout as a designated hitter against Stockton in his first rehab game.

Peralta, healing from a pinched nerve in his neck, reached his pitch limit after two-thirds of an inning, charged with one run on two hits in his second rehab appearance.

The list of Dodgers lined up for injury rehab assignments with Rancho Cucamonga in the next few days includes Paco Rodriguez (elbow spur), who shows up there Monday, Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery) on Tuesday, and Brandon League (right shoulder impingement), who goes back to back both of those days.

Peralta, out since April 23, has allowed no runs or inherited runners to score in his 5 2/3 innings this season, scattering two singles and three walks while striking out four.

An activation of League from the disabled list is expected around June 24, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News, who separately notes that Beachy is expected to use the full 30 days available to him for his rehab assignment, which would place his arrival in the Dodger rotation no sooner than July 17, the first day after the All-Star Break.  No doubt, the sequence of the Dodger rotation will depend on the use of Zack Greinke and/or Clayton Kershaw at the Midsummer Classic.

In addition, Pedro Baez has been throwing bullpen sessions at Camelback Ranch “but is probably still a week away from starting a rehab assignment,” according to Bill Plunkett of the Register.

Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin are the two current Dodger relievers who have spent time in the minors this season, but if the Dodgers want to make room in the bullpen for Peralta, Rodriguez, League and Baez, they’d have to carve out more space.

If Van Slyke, Peralta, League, Beachy, Rodriguez and Baez are all activated over the next month, that would turn over nearly 25 percent of the active roster. And that doesn’t factor in Carl Crawford, in Arizona recovering from his oblique injury, and Hector Olivera, whose MLB debut is still expected in the coming weeks.

* * *

Josh Sborz, drafted 74th overall by the Dodgers last week, was profiled by Cash Kruth at after striking out five in three shutout innings for Virginia at the College World Series on Saturday.

“He throws strikes. He attacks you. That slider is, what, 84 to sometimes up to 87, 88 mph. It’s a pretty darned good pitch,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “So you have a lot of confidence in him that he’s going to go at them and give his best. And he’s been pretty darned near as good as you can be all year long for us.”

Aside from his fastball and slider, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Sborz also shows solid feel for a changeup that he really doesn’t need as a reliever. Last season, Sborz posted a 2.92 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) while mostly working out of the rotation, and the Dodgers have said they plan to begin developing him as a starter.

Myth and reality about the Dodger bullpen

St.Louis Cardinals vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

The bullpen was the Dodgers’ biggest problem last year? Why hasn’t anything been done about that?

Actually, quite a bit has been done. Including the playoffs, the 2014 Dodger bullpen threw 498 innings. Pitchers who threw 236 of those innings — 47 percent — are not with the team in 2015.

OK, but the bullpen is still a huge Achilles heel. Why isn’t it any better?

Actually, it is better. Even before Friday’s game (2 1/3 innings, two unearned runs, three hits, no walks, five strikeouts), the 2015 Dodger bullpen had outperformed last year’s.


OK, but saying it’s better still isn’t saying much. It’s still not good.

Let’s see. It’s the No. 1 bullpen in baseball in wins above replacement, according to Fangraphs. Through Thursday’s games, no bullpen had a better strikeout rate, and only the Cardinals had a lower rate in home runs allowed.

In terms of WHIP, the Dodger bullpen ranked ninth out of 30 teams — not ideal, but certainly solid.

Now, in percentage of runners stranded on base, Los Angeles was 21st (73.2 percent), and that’s essentially where the problem is. Not very many baserunners get on, but when they do get on, they tend to score more often than most other teams allow.

You can argue that the Dodger bullpen isn’t great. It’s harder to argue that it isn’t good, and even more so to say that it’s below average. Even if a quarter of the runners who reach base are scoring, that total number who score compares quite favorably to the rest of the big leagues.

OK, but “good” isn’t good enough. Not when you plan on winning a World Series. The front office should have done more to fix the bullpen.

No one’s suggesting that the Dodgers should settle for anything less than the best possible roster. Putting aside the fact that the front office has done everything in the world to show that it’s not done tinkering with the team, it’s easy to say that more should have been done, but a lot harder to be precise about who should have been acquired.

Andrew Miller of the Yankees is one obvious name, but even Miller is on the disabled list now. And for every Andrew Miller, there’s a Craig Kimbrel. San Diego swooped in and got Kimbrel from the Braves, only for him to produce a WHIP (1.30) worse than the average Dodger pitcher and an LOB% (73.6) that’s equal.

That’s not to say Kimbrel won’t improve as the season goes on — his uncharacteristic .353 batting average by opponents on balls in play suggests as much. But that’s not the exercise, is it? The question is, why isn’t the Dodger bullpen better now?

No doubt, there’s a perfect bullpen combination out there, just like there’s a perfect way to fill out your March Madness bracket. But given how few reliably great relievers come on the market each year and how fickle relief pitching is from year to year, it’s a fallacy to suggest that there was an obvious way to build a better bullpen than the one the Dodgers have on June 13, 2015.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong. You know what the Dodgers should do for the bullpen, this year or next, don’t keep it a secret. Let me know.

Ten facts about the Dodger bullpen

Yimi Garcia has struck out 33 and walked seven in 20 innings this season. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Yimi Garcia has struck out 33 and walked seven in 20 innings this season. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:15 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Alex Guerrero, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Here’s where the Dodger bullpen ranks in 10 key categories, compared with the rest of the National League:

  • No. 3 in fewest innings thrown, behind the Mets and Reds.
  • No. 2 in fewest batters faced, behind only the Mets.
  • No. 2 behind the Mets in lowest on-base percentage allowed.
  • No. 2 behind the Mets in WHIP.
  • Tied for No. 1 with the Marlins for fewest home runs allowed.
  • No. 1 in lowest slugging percentage allowed.
  • No. 1 in lowest OPS allowed.
  • No. 1 in strikeouts per nine innings.
  • No. 1 in strikeout-walk ratio.
  • No. 7 in rate of inherited runners allowed to score.

The last bullet point shows that Dodger relievers aren’t doing everything right. But they’re doing a lot of things very right — and that’s with Kenley Jansen having thrown 57 pitches so far all season.

And the other good news, heading into a stretch of 34 games in the next 34 days (with one doubleheader and one day off in June), is that so far, the Dodger bullpen haven’t been overworked.

What to expect from Kenley Jansen

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

For images from Thursday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCXVII: The Kershawx-Bow Incident
Joc Pederson, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Activated from the disabled list today, Kenley Jansen doesn’t come back as a savior.

For one thing, even with this week’s bullpen struggles, I’m not sure the Dodger bullpen needs saving. For another, Jansen couldn’t do it by himself anyway.

And something else to keep in mind about Jansen, who takes the roster spot of the re-optioned Daniel Coulombe, is that he has historically been a second-half pitcher. Whether that’s a statistical anomaly or not, I can’t say, but at least in the past, he has taken time to reach his toppiest of top form:


  • 2.96 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 13.8 K/9 before All-Star Game
  • 1.42 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 14.2 K/9 after All-Star Game


  • 3.49 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 14.4 K/9 before All-Star Game
  • 1.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 13.2 K/9 after All-Star Game

Honestly, BABIP could be the reason as much as anything — opponents hit .395 on balls in play before the 2014 All-Star Game, according to, .286 after. And he’s been no slouch at any point, first half or second.

In any case, expecting perfection from Jansen is as unreasonable as requiring perfection for him to be useful.

Rested Dodger bullpen raises interesting questions

In 10 games this month, Sergio Santos and the Dodger bullpen have allowed 32 baserunners in 28 1/3 innings. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

In 10 games this month, Sergio Santos and the Dodger bullpen have allowed 32 baserunners in 28 1/3 innings. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

Thanks to Friday’s shortened game, Saturday’s rainout and their overall efficiency, Dodger relievers enter the upcoming seven-game homestand having thrown only 42 pitches combined since Thursday and 165 in the past week.

Yimi Garcia’s nine pitches Sunday are his only action in the past seven days. Chris Hatcher is on six days’ rest. Paco Rodriguez hasn’t entered a game since a six-pitch outing five days ago.

Sergio Santos has been one of the hardest-working men in the bullpen for the past week — he was the only Dodger pitcher on the roadtrip to work back-to-back days. Yet even Santos has only thrown 41 pitches — 22 on Wednesday and 19 on Thursday.

He doesn’t seem too worried he is growing stale.

“For the most part, that just usually doesn’t last,” Santos said this afternoon. “You take your lumps when you get them, and you take your days off as you get those as well. It’s really about staying even-keeled and being ready.”

Like the other relievers, he has to find the balance between staying sharp and not overdoing his workout.

“So I’ve had three days off,” he said, “so what I’ll do today is I’ll play catch, and then I’ll probably throw a light 10-to-12-pitch bullpen, just something so I can get downhill. I can flip a couple sliders, throw some changeups and just get that work in. It’s more for the muscle memory. … and if I get to pitch tonight, I’ll still be fine.”

Another factor in the low workload is that the Dodgers have been carrying eight relievers. Ideally, according to Don Mattingly, that would go down to seven.

“It ties your hands a little bit when you go short a (position) player,” Mattingly said. “That’s an area that we have a few guys who have quite a bit of versatility, so it makes that easier, but still there are times .. you just make decisions differently. You might let a pitcher hit one more time, you may not pinch-hit in certain circumstances earlier in the game and just try to save your bullets.”

But with Kenley Jansen close to being activated (he has one more rehab outing scheduled for Wednesday) and 16 games in the next 17 days, it might be hard to make a bullpen cut.

“I think we always want to try to keep everybody rested and keep everybody fresh when they come out, give them the best chance to be successful,” Mattingly said. “Sometimes that happens; sometimes you go through a stretch where you’re into your bullpen a lot. Then there’s times when you’ve gotten good starting pitching, where your bullpen’s not getting that much use. You never know what’s going to happen over the next three or four days.

As Pederson delivers again, Dodger bullpen on 19-inning scoreless streak

By Jon Weisman

With homers in four straight games, including a game-tying shot in tonight’s 5-4 Dodger victory over Arizona, Joc Pederson is on a planet by himself these days …

… but can we also spare a congratulatory moment for the Dodger bullpen?


Quotebook: Yimi Garcia targeted for ‘toughest part of the order’

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 7.44.49 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 7.47.15 AM

Hitters faced by Yimi Garcia in the eighth inning Monday (with their spot in the batting order and the result): Angel Pagan (3, strikeout), Buster Posey (4, single), Justin Maxwell (5, strikeout), Andrew Susac (6, flyout)

– Jon Weisman

Dodger bullpen locking it down

Dodger bullpen past seven days

Rockies at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Brandon McCarthy, P

By Jon Weisman

You’re looking at the performance of the Dodger bullpen at home this week. The offense has carried the Dodgers, scoring at least five runs in every game, but by not making news at the end of the game, the bullpen is worthy of its own headline.

On the current homestand, Dodger relievers have held opposing batters to a .105 batting average, .190 on-base percentage and .123 slugging percentage in 63 plate appearances. In 17 1/3 innings, they have given up one run, on six walks, six singles and a double — while striking out 25.

The bullpen is also well-rested heading into today’s series finale with Colorado. No reliever has worked consecutive days since Wednesday. Only one has thrown more than 20 pitches in a game since Tuesday, and that was Pedro Baez, who has had three days off since throwing 25 pitches. With another off day Monday, all relievers should be primed for the team’s first trip to San Francisco next week.

It hasn’t hurt that they’ve been efficient. Since Wednesday, the bullpen has completed 9 1/3 innings on 134 pitches, or 14.4 pitches per inning.

Admittedly, Dodger relievers won’t remain quite this dominant — a 0.52 ERA is asking a but much — and the off days will become far less frequent, but they do have a couple of things to look forward to: getting a little more length out of their starting pitchers, and the return in the next few weeks of Kenley Jansen.

Notes on the Dodger bullpen, heading into a bullpen game

Yimi Garcia has retired 16 of 19 batters in 2015, striking out eight. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Yimi Garcia has retired 16 of 19 batters in 2015, striking out eight. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

For more images from Monday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Mariners at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
David Huff, P

By Jon Weisman

With the Dodgers looking at five innings max from David Huff tonight, here’s the state of the seven-man bullpen behind him after seven games. (I’m using the handy chart at Dodgers Digest for reference on the pitch counts.)

A few things to note:

  • No Dodger reliever has worked three consecutive days this season.
  • None has thrown more than 30 pitches in one game.
  • Yimi Garcia has been used the most so far: 81 pitches over the first eight days of the regular season. He threw 15 pitches on Opening Day and 28 pitches the following game. He then received two days off before and after his next outing (23 pitches on April 10). He threw 15 pitches against the Mariners on Monday.
  • Famous last words: The Dodger bullpen hasn’t allowed a home run in 20 innings this season (85 plate appearances).
  • Opponents are hitting .244/.298/.295 against the bullpen (even with a .373 batting average on balls in play).
  • The Dodger bullpen has a 1.20 WHIP and 12.2 K/9.
  • Chris Hatcher brings us the rare 29-run difference between his ERA (33.75) and his FIP (4.48).
  • Then there’s Paco Rodriguez, who has a 9.00 ERA and a -3.02 FIP. Yes, that’s negative 3.02. He is also averaging 27 strikeouts per nine innings … through one inning this season.
  • Joel Peralta’s 1.13 FIP is only fifth-best on the team.
  • The guess here is that Don Mattingly will try to stay away from Pedro Baez and Peralta, each of whom pitched Sunday and Monday, though neither is necessarily unavailable for a short outing tonight. J.P. Howell and Juan Nicasio are the most rested.

Reliever chart 4-14

As for tonight’s lineup, Yasiel Puig is being held out as a precaution to protect his left hamstring, though he could be available to pinch-hit off the bench. Starting third baseman Juan Uribe and reserve Justin Turner are ready to go, Don Mattingly said.

In the background, Mattingly said Kenley Jansen and Hyun-Jin Ryu are progressing in their rehabs without any setbacks. Mattingly indicated that Jansen was feeling so good that they might need to put the reins on him.

Dodgers make difficult cuts to set 25-man roster

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Los Angeles Dodgers

For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Here it is: the Dodgers’ Opening Day 25-man roster …

Starting pitchers (4): Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson

Relief pitchers (7): Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher, J.P. Howell, Juan Nicasio, Joel Peralta, Paco Rodriguez

Catchers (2): A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal

Infielders (7): Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Juan Uribe, Darwin Barney, Alex Guerrero, Justin Turner

Outfielders (5): Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke

Disabled list (4): Brandon Beachy, Kenley Jansen, Brandon League, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Withrow

As evidenced by the ninth-inning homer that Kiké Hernandez hit tonight, giving the Dodgers an unreal eighth tie of Spring Training, the Dodgers are sending a lot of talent back to the minors. Hernandez alone hit six home runs during Spring Training.

Chris Heisey, David Aardsma, David Huff, Adam Liberatore and Sergio Santos were also among the last cuts.

“We feel very strongly we sent down some Major League players,” Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters after the game. “To have that depth is key.”

In the bullpen, the Dodgers kept three relievers who had options remaining — Baez, Garcia and Rodriguez — at the expense of others with more big-league experience, giving them five relievers age 30 or under. Though they released Dustin McGowan earlier this week, the Dodgers lost no other talent at the roster deadline, so their stockpile of relievers remains — and that’s with Jansen, League and Withrow potentially returning at various times later this year.

Liberatore, who struck out nine in 10 1/3 scoreless innings this spring while allowing seven baserunners, was a particularly close call, but as with so many of these players, he’ll likely have his chance. That the 27-year-old hasn’t made his MLB debut yet worked against him for Opening Day, said Friedman, who valued the younger Rodriguez’s experience for the start of the season.

Rodriguez not only matched Liberatore’s scoreless spring, he struck out 13 in 10 2/3 innings. But as the Dodgers have maintained all along, it’s about more than just numbers.

“Paco probably generated some of the worst swings out of hitters this camp,” said Friedman.  “Lib will get his chance.”

Mike Adams, who appears to be contemplating retirement, is technically reassigned to minor-league camp, according to Friedman.

Left unsaid for now is who will be the Dodgers’ fifth starter come April 14. Because that date comes less than 10 days after the start of the season — and the start of his option this year to the minors — Joe Wieland could fill that role only if he replaces a player who goes on the disabled list. A player not currently on the 40-man roster, such as Huff, could have his contract purchased for a spot start if the Dodgers make room for him.

Also delayed: Paring the Dodger bench. The Dodgers will begin the season with 11 pitchers and 14 position players, but by mid-April, the Dodgers figure to go with a 12-man pitching staff. Barney, who has done nothing but impress since becoming a Dodger last year, nevertheless stands as a player who could spend time in the minors, however briefly, if no other moves are made.

In my 14 seasons blogging about the Dodgers (I’m staring at that “14” in disbelief), this is the deepest team they have brought to Opening Day. Not every question has been answered, but no team has ever been bulletproof.  The bench and farm system are as rich as they’ve been since, well, the 1900s. Even starting the season with their No. 3 starter and No. 1 reliever on the disabled list, it’s striking how much talent the 2015 Dodgers have to draw from up and down the line.

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