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Back-of-bullpen struggles could leave opening for Paco Rodriguez

May 11, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Paco Rodriguez pitches during the eighth inning of the Dodgers' loss to the Miami Marlins, 5-4.
Paco Rodriguez pitches during the eighth inning of the Dodgers' loss… (Harry How / Getty Images )

On the list of things not going well for the Dodgers, the back end of the bullpen might not rate at the top, but it is unexpectedly in contention.

Five of the Dodgers’ eight consecutive losses have been by one run. Games go late and tight, and right now, the bullpen is struggling.

Friday night it was Ronald Belisario who gave up the decisive runs. Brandon League has given up consecutive walk-off homers. Wednesday it was Kenley Jansen taking the loss.

“These are the guys we really try and get to,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “You start looking at the game early, and if we can get to seven, eight, nine [innings], we pretty much know where we want to go.

“That formula, like everything else right now, doesn’t seem to be working.”

Mattingly admits he has thought of shaking things up, but is reluctant to appear he is giving up on anyone with almost four-fifths of the season remaining.

One reliever who may be flat-out earning his way to the back of the bullpen is left-hander Paco Rodriguez. He has not allowed a run in his last five outings, striking out 10 in 6 2/3 innings.

“The way Paco is going, he’s getting righties and lefties out, he’s a guy we’re really going to have to take a look,” Mattingly said. “It’s hard to stay status quo, but you kind of want to stick with your plan and to your guns.

“You hate to just jump ship on that and give up on guys. That wouldn’t be giving up on guys, just him making enough noise to say, `Hey, I can pitch back here and get both guys out.’ He’s working his way more and more really to that role.”

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