Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy pad list of bullpen options for Dodgers
Dodgers left-hander Brett Anderson made his first relief appearance in three years Thursday night, allowing five hits and striking out two in 2 1/3 rocky but scoreless innings in a 9-4 victory over the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.
Manager Dave Roberts said after the game that right-hander Brandon McCarthy will make his first relief appearance since 2007 Friday night in San Francisco.
Neither Anderson, limited to three starts this season, nor McCarthy, limited to nine starts, will be part of the Dodgers’ playoff rotation, but Roberts is giving the veteran and oft-injured starters one last chance to make the playoff roster as relievers.
“We wanted to get a different look from Brett, for him to come out of the pen — it’s something he’s really not accustomed to,” Roberts said. “His velocity was up. He was victim to some soft-contact hits, but his breaking ball was good. For Brett to come in, throw three innings, it was a positive outing for him.”
The Dodgers are expected to carry at least eight relievers — and at least two or three left-handers — on their 25-man playoff roster. With Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan, J.P. Howell, Adam Liberatore, Alex Wood and Julio Urias if he is not in the rotation vying for spots, Anderson will have plenty of competition.
Closer Kenley Jansen and setup men Joe Blanton and Pedro Baez are locks for right-handed relief spots, and Ross Stripling is a heavy favorite for a long-relief role, so McCarthy would have to beat out pitchers such as Josh Fields, Jesse Chavez and Louis Coleman for a spot.
“What Strip has done out of the pen, there’s a lot to like, he’s got a lot of weapons,” Roberts said. “We’re going to use McCarthy out of the pen Friday night and see how his stuff plays. It’s a good situation because we have a lot of ways we can go.”
There is also plenty of competition for bench spots, though Roberts did tip his hand before Friday night’s game, confirming that left-handed-hitting outfielder Andrew Toles, who is batting .317 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 2014 at-bats and can play all three outfield spots, will be on the team.
The Dodgers will carry at least five outfielders — Joc Pederson, Josh Reddick, Yasiel Puig and Howie Kendrick are the others — but Roberts said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of carrying left-handed-hitting Andre Ethier, who missed most of the season because of a broken leg but has three pinch hits, including a homer and an RBI single, in his last six games.
“I like him a lot in that role,” Roberts said. “You see that professional at-bat. I’ve told him all along, I don’t care about the average, I just want to see him conduct the at-bats that I’ve seen over the last 8-10 years of his career.
“I believe that if the process and approach is right, the results with be there. He’s gotten some hits in that role, which is very tough to do. I trust the at-bats, and I definitely like the direction he’s going in.”
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