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Dodgers have to wonder if Ramon Troncoso's sudden drop-off can be attributed to overuse

May 26, 2010 |  1:21 pm

Troncoso_300 Whither Ramon Troncoso?

The Dodgers were already suffering from the inexplicable drop-off of George "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" Sherrill, but now another reliable reliever has suddenly hit the skids.

Troncoso was a bullpen godsend last season, appearing in 73 games, going 5-4 with six saves and a 2.72 ERA.

The right-hander certainly won Manager Joe Torre's confidence, which some would argue is not always a good thing.

Torre used him extensively early this season, and Troncoso responded.

By May 1, Troncoso had already appeared in 16 of the Dodgers’ first 24 games but sported a 3.21 ERA.

In his nine games since, he’s had an 8.31 ERA.

And he’s only getting worse. After allowing only one home run in his first 22 games, he’s allowed four in his last three.

Troncoso told Ken Gurnick of prior to Tuesday’s game he believed he had discovered a flaw in his delivery:

"I was watching videos of last year, and I see that sometimes I lean too fast. When I stay back, my sinker moves like it used to. That's not an excuse, it just happens sometimes."

Then Troncoso went out Tuesday and gave up a two-run homer to Derrek Lee.

The suspicion is, his struggles are the result of overwork. He’s appeared in 25 games, tied  for third most in the major leagues. Fatigue can’t be ignored as a factor.

Currently, his overall ERA has risen to 5.24 and he’s not someone the Dodgers can count upon. And at a time, when the rest of the bullpen -- Pod Boy, excluded -- was really coming together.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ramon Troncoso. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Associated Press.