Ferguson was charged with three runs on two hits and a walk while striking out one over two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday's 12-inning win over the Giants.
Ferguson entered the contest in the eighth inning with a three-run lead, but he was unable to preserve it after serving up a three-run homer to Andrew McCutchen. The rookie southpaw has been transitioning to a late-inning role, and has generally been successful as a reliever (2.16 ERA with 30 strikeouts over 25 relief innings) even with Wednesday's hiccup. Ferguson joined a long list of Dodger relievers who recently coughed up a late-inning lead in Kenley Jansen's (chest) absence, so this rough outing shouldn't exclude him from a large closing committee.
Ferguson tossed three scoreless innings in long relief and was credited with his first MLB save in the Dodgers' 17-1 win over the Pirates on Monday. He gave up three hits and no walks and struck out a batter in the 52-pitch appearance.
Given the Dodgers' 16-run advantage, Ferguson faced one of the least pressure-packed save chances you'll ever see, but it was a nice achievement for the rookie, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday. Perhaps more importantly, Ferguson's extended outing allowed the Dodgers to rest closer Kenley Jansen and top setup men Scott Alexander and Daniel Hudson, who were all used a day earlier against the Rockies. Ferguson's fantasy appeal has taken a hit since he surrendered his rotation spot after a June 17 start, but it looks like he'll stick around with the big club while he continues to thrive as a long man out of the bullpen. He has allowed just one run over nine innings in his three relief appearances.
Ferguson, who appeared out of the bullpen in relief of Clayton Kershaw (back) in Saturday's 8-3 win over the Mets, is expected to piggyback the southpaw again Thursday against the Cubs, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. "[Working out of the bullpen is] something for [Ferguson] to grow on, that his pregame can be amended and he can be successful," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Ferguson had been in line to make his fourth start with the Dodgers on Saturday, but the surprise return of Kershaw, who was initially scheduled to make a rehab start in the minors the same day, resulted in an assignment to the bullpen. With Kershaw being eased back in for only three innings (55 pitches), Ferguson still ended up getting plenty of work in long relief, and made quite the impression. He tossed four scoreless frames and worked around a few jams while striking out six batters, matching his best total from any of his previous three starts. Kershaw will likely face fewer restrictions against the Cubs, so expect Ferguson to see a lighter innings count out of the bullpen in his next appearance.
Ferguson (0-1) allowed four runs (three earned) on two hits and one walk while striking out six across five innings to take the loss Sunday against the Giants.
Ferguson allowed only three baserunners, but surrendered two home runs, the direct cause of all the runs he allowed. He was solid otherwise, generating an impressive 16 swinging strikes and starting 13 of the 19 batters he faced with a strike. After throwing only 57 and 65 pitches respectively in his first two starts of the season, Ferguson was allowed to throw 84 pitches in his start Sunday. That bodes well him pitching deeper into games if he remains in Dodgers' rotation moving forward.
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