Bullpen games to rest starters a ‘no-brainer,’ Dodgers’ Dave Roberts says – Orange County Register

SAN FRANCISCO — The choice is a simple one if viewed with a long lens.

The Dodgers have committed to keeping their starting pitchers as healthy as they can for the long term even if it means making decisions that don’t necessarily maximize their chances of winning on any given day.

So the prospects of a Tyler Glasnow-Logan Webb pitching matchup on Wednesday night will give way to the Dodgers’ fourth bullpen game of the season. Glasnow has not pitched on four days of rest this year and will get five days off before starting Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Only twice in the Dodgers’ first 44 games has the starting pitcher gone to the mound with as little as four days of rest – Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone have done it once each.

“I think if you put it in that context, it’s a no-brainer,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “There’s nothing more important than protecting the starters.”

Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior appreciates the big-picture awareness it takes to make those long-range decisions.

“That’s always the tug-of-war and beauty of our game,” Prior said. “It’s 162(-game season). It’s about winning today but not at the cost of winning games the next 10 days – versus football where you’re playing today and that’s all that matters.

“That’s the hard part that I think goes unnoticed with managers, all 30 of them. Do you push the envelope to win today if it comes at the cost of the next two or three days? Yeah, that win is important. But losing two or three in a row is not helpful if you’ve put yourself at a disadvantage. That’s the tough decisions of trying to manage your workload with your bullpen and even with your starters.”

Roberts and Prior both made it clear they don’t view bullpen games as conceding an opportunity to win. In fact, the Dodgers have gone 13-6 in bullpen games (or games featuring an opener paired with a multi-inning reliever) over the past three seasons with a staff ERA of 3.86 in those games.

“I think we feel really good with our bullpen games,” Prior said. “When we get into those games we feel pretty good about our bullpen guys being able to run it out and we’ve done it enough that I think we can isolate the matchups we want the best we can, knowing that you’re going to take your medicine (with an unfavorable matchup) once or twice over the course of a game.”

Roberts said one thing doesn’t change in a bullpen game – “You still got to hit.”

“But as far as run prevention, I still think that you can hang in there and get your matchups,” he said. “The cost is using certain relievers. And as long as they’re not being taxed or overworked with the benefit of giving the starters an extra day, it’s an absolute no-brainer.”


Outfielder Jason Heyward started a minor-league injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Heyward has been out since March 30 with a lower back strain.

Heyward went hitless in three at-bats, striking out twice and popping out. He played five innings in right field.

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