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Dodgers' bullpen from asset to liability?

April 11, 2010 |  2:38 pm
Hong-Chih Kuo, put some magic oil on the elbow or something. Ronald Belisario, start throwing in Arizona like you really were working out hard in Venezuela. George Sherrill, figure it out.

The bullpen was one of the great strengths of last year’s Dodgers team, but right now it’s a weakness.

The Dodgers are essentially without three of their top four relievers, and it cost them in their disappointing 2-4 road trip, dropping series to Pittsburgh and Florida teams they should have owned.

They gave up late leads in both their one-run losses to the Marlins. Last season they were 28-22 in one-run games. Right now, it’s not the same team. Certainly not the same bullpen.

That has to be one frustrated team heading back to the West Coast for their home-opener on Tuesday.

Jeff Weaver has been pitching well, but appearing for the fifth time in six games, he surrendered the tying and winning run in the seventh.

This after Matt Kemp continued to play center curiously, simply dropping what looked like a routine fly for an error that led to one Florida run in the sixth.

The way the Dodgers are pitching, they can’t afford to play the field so poorly. In six games, they received only one outstanding start, Hiroki Kuroda.

Charlie Haeger actually pitched well, but for one bad pitch to Jorge Cantu that he sent somewhere into Georgia for a three-run homer. Haeger’s knuckleball was doing its thing, accounting for a career-high 12 strikeouts. He also walked four and threw three wild pitches.

He left after six innings (117 pitches) with the Dodgers up 5-4. At the moment too large of a task for the bullpen.

As long as the Dodgers are receiving so-so starting pitching, their bullpen has to resemble last season’s unit.

 -- Steve Dilbeck
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