By R.J. Anderson //
The end-game portion of the Dodgers bullpen has been a mess this season. Jonathan Broxton, formerly one of the game’s better closers, has struggled with his control (walking more than six batters per nine innings pitched) while allowing too many home runs and watching his strikeout rate recede. If that isn’t enough, top set-up man Hong-Chih Kuo is on the 15-day disabled list with anxiety disorder. Even makeshift closer Vicente Padilla is on the DL with right forearm irritation.
In recent times, the Dodgers have turned to Mike MacDougal and Javy Guerra to close down games. There is bad, then there is “MacDougal in for the save” bad. On Tuesday, the Dodgers took some action by promoting one of their top prospects to the majors. Rubby De La Rosa is not a household name yet, but he could be in due time. The 22-year-old made his debut in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game and here were the results:
Struck out Hunter Pence (six pitches)
Forced Carlos Lee to groundout (two pitches)
Struck out Brett Wallace (five pitches)
It was only Houston, sure, but striking out Pence and Wallace in your first appearance is a nifty start and if De La Rosa’s minor league stats are any indication, there will be plenty more Ks flashing on the Dodgers scoreboard in the years to come. Beyond just his stats, De La Rosa has the stuff of a closer too—with a high 90s fastball and power slider. There are whispers of his ability to occasionally hit triple digits, which just adds to his mystique.
That Don Mattingly was willing to toss De La Rosa into the eighth inning immediately feels like a sign he may go to him in the ninth sooner than later too. In which case, scoop De La Rosa up if you have the space, because he could be a source of saves by the end of the season.
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