Dodgers' bullpen is rolling again and now Pedro Baez is back

The Dodgers’ bullpen is incredible! Who knew? After last year’s disastrous finish, it’s morphed into a powerhouse to start the season. Even without its closer, it’s killing it.

Wait, the bullpen is destroying the Dodgers. The next guy they find lock down the eighth inning will be the first. Kenley Jansen is back and now everyone else blows.

Hold it, the Dodgers’ bullpen is back! It’s rolling again. J.P. Howell is looking good, Jansen is closing in style. Their bullpen combined to throw four scoreless innings Thursday and 4 1/3 on Wednesday to secure wins.

OK, take a breath. It can appear confusing.

It’s been something of an up-and-down run for the bullpen this season, such a terrific start followed by such uncertainty. There are multiple reasons for this, the largest being they haven’t had anything close to their desired bullpen for some time but are now beginning to get key pieces back.

They got another one Friday when Pedro Baez was activated from the disabled list and Ian Thomas was returned to triple-A Oklahoma City.

Baez was impressive until straining his right pectoral May 13 and landing on the disabled list. In 15 appearances before going on the DL, the hard-throwing right-hander had a 1.76 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He has 22 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings and has not allowed a run in his last eight appearances.

The Dodgers got Joel Peralta back Monday, and after a shaky first appearance, came back with two scoreless outings. Coming soon could be Paco Rodriguez and Brandon League.

The Dodgers have used 15 different relievers this season, including several they were probably hoping would never have to see Dodger Stadium this season.

Despite the turnover, it still has an overall 2.99 ERA (seventh in the majors), a .220 opponents’ batting average (fourth) and 17 wins (second).

And now, at least for now, is approaching health.

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