To protect a one-run lead in the eighth inning Sunday night, the
Nicasio was a starting pitcher for the overwhelming majority of his previous four seasons. He was acquired in the off-season to be a long reliever.
So it wasn't entirely surprising when the
"He's been throwing the ball best for us, really, late in the game," Manager
In other words, Mattingly had no other options. He was back to where he was last fall.
The much-maligned bullpen of 2014 was comprised of recognizeable names, including former All-Stars
Under the direction of a new front office, the Dodgers tried a new approach in constructing their bullpen last off-season. The strategy seemed to be working early in the season.
Projected late-inning option
Rookie Yimi Garcia had a 0.63 ERA through May 10. He has an ERA of 9.00 in his last 12 games.
"We haven't been, obviously, as consistent as we were early, when everyone seemed to be getting their outs," Mattingly said.
Finding the links between the starting pitchers and closer
"We have been searching for that," Mattingly said.
Mattingly's first move to the bullpen Sunday came with two outs and a runner on first in the seventh inning, when he replaced starting pitcher
But Liberatore returned to the mound in the eighth inning and walked leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter.
In came Nicasio, who promptly served up a rocket to
Jhonny Peralta followed with a single to left field that drove in pinch-runner
In a previous era, Mattingly said, the Dodgers would have likely had a different plan.
"In the old days, you're going to go for a two-inning save there," Mattingly said. "That's not the way it is now."
Mattingly didn't sound as if he was inclined to use Jansen in a high-leverage, non-save situation, like, say, the situation the Dodgers encountered Sunday.
"You're going to get the same situation in the ninth if you use him in the eighth," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers played the Cardinals seven times in the last 10 days. They lost five times.
"The past two weeks, we haven't been playing our best baseball, in my opinion," Greinke said.
Overall, the Dodgers have lost eight of their last 12 games.
"Just not everything is clicking," Greinke said. "It's been OK, but I wouldn't say anything's standing out positive. Just a lot of OK."
Their problems extend beyond the bullpen. They also can't score.