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Bullpen is Dodgers' latest headache

The Sports Xchange
Notes, Quotes · Bullpen is Dodgers' latest headache · Roster Report

Each night seems to expose another concern for the Dodgers.

For most of the season, it's been the offense. That trend continued Tuesday, as Los Angeles was held to two runs or fewer for the eighth time in 18 games.

Last week, it was the starting pitchers blowing leads on the rare times the offense scored enough runs.

Now, it's the bullpen.

Closer Jonathan Broxton's been shaky. Setup man Hong-Chih Kuo is on the disabled list. And the last guys in the bullpen have turned some close games into blowouts. The last example was Tuesday night, when Kenley Jansen and Ramon Troncoso took a 2-1 deficit in the ninth and turned it into a 10-1 loss to the Braves.

Jansen, who allowed two runs last year in 27 innings, retired just one of the six batters he faced Tuesday night. His ERA rose to 11.42, and he's allowed 19 baserunners in 8 2/3 innings.

"Obviously, he hasn't been like last year," manager Don Mattingly said. "He hasn't been overpowering. Some of those matchups (Tuesday) were actually good matchups for him. He kept getting the ball in different spots. Yeah, he's one of those guys you look at."

Troncoso didn't make the team out of spring training, and he got knocked around earlier this week after taking the injured Kuo's spot on the roster. He allowed five consecutive hits Tuesday before getting a double-play grounder to mercifully end the inning.

The bullpen should get a boost with Vicente Padilla returning from the disabled list Thursday or Friday. But there isn't another new option after him, so the current relievers need to improve.

"If Vicente is throwing the ball the way he's capable, you do feel like he can shut things down," Mattingly said. "But you can't say one guy will make a huge difference. You expect Kenley to throw a zero there. I expect all the guys to throw the ball (well) all the time."

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