LOS ANGELES – Ohio was not kind to the Dodgers’ bullpen.
During last week’s six-game trip to Cleveland and Cincinnati, the Dodgers’ relief corps – which started the trip with the lowest ERA in the National League – had an 8.20 ERA, a 1.61 WHIP and seven home runs allowed in the six games. Take away closer Kenley Jansen’s four scoreless appearances and the rest of the bullpen’s ERA was 9.98 on the trip. Over the past nine games (including three at home against the Reds), the bullpen ERA minus Jansen was 7.71 with 10 home runs allowed in nine games.
The Dodgers won eight of those nine games thanks to an offense that averaged 6.7 runs per game against Ohio’s teams. But the bullpen’s numbers over that stretch made change inevitable. Long man Ross Stripling was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday after giving up three-run home runs in each of his previous two outings. And Monday, right-hander Josh Fields followed him with right-hander Sergio Romo activated from the disabled list.
Through the end of May, Fields was the Dodgers’ most reliable setup man. He was charged with just two runs in his first 22 appearances, striking out 27 of the first 83 batters he faced and allowing only one home run.
Over his past five appearances, however, Fields was charged with seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits to the 23 batters he faced in that time and five of them were home runs.
“You look back at the video and it’s just some missed execution and they’re not foul balls or fly balls. They’ve just been home runs,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Roberts said the demotion is “not punitive at all” for Fields, who might be feeling the weight of his workload. This demotion will allow him to “reset” and “give him a breather” with the OKC Dodgers.
“I still have a lot of confidence in Josh and I know he’ll be back soon,” Roberts said. “He’s still having a great year and we expect him to have a great year when he…