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Bullpen game ends bullpen week for Dodgers

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After watching it bullpen blow a 7-2 lead on Saturday, the Dodgers end a 10-game road trip with a game full of bullpen in the series finale against the Cubs on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

But this was a planned event several days in the making, cemented when Carlos Frias allowed 10 hits to his 11 batters faced in a start on Wednesday at Coors Field. The Dodgers just didn't realize at the tie that this bullpen game would come at the end of bullpen week.

In the six games in Denver and Chicago this week, Dodgers starters have pitched a total of 23⅓ innings, never more than five innings in any start.

The bullpen has accounted for 27⅔ innings.

Good thing it is September, with expanded rosters. The Dodgers are currently carrying 18 pitchers, and here is a look at the workload of the bulk of them on the road trip, excluding the starters, giving an idea of just how whole Johnny Wholestaff might be against the Cubs.

Dodgers relievers on road trip (innings/pitches)
Pitcher Sep.12 Sep.13 Sep.14 Sep.15 Sep.16 Sep.17 Sep.18 Sep.19 Sep.20
Jansen 1.0/13 1.0/11
Howell 1.0/15 0.2/24
Wilson 1.0/13 1.0/14 0.2/20
Baez 1.0/15 1.0/26 1.0/13
Rodriguez 0.1/4 1.0/15 1.0/9
League 1.0/7 1.0/23 1.0/10 0.1/2
Wright 1.0/16 0.0/10 1.0/12
Frias 3.0/55 0.2/38 0.1/5
Perez 1.0/17 1.0/9 1.0/14 1.0/25
Garcia 1.0/16 1.0/10 1.0/12 1.0/11
Elbert 1.0/11 0.0/4 1.1/13 1.0/14
Correia 2.0/38 3.0/57
Coulombe 1.0/12 1.0/16 0.0/11

Jamey Wright will get the call, though having pitched in three of the previous six days it's unknown how long he will pitch. Wright doesn't even know.

"I can’t tell you whether I’ll go six or three or two," Wright told J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Starting was Wright's role in his first 11½ seasons, and Sunday will be his 248th career start. But after switching to relief midway through the 2007 season in Texas, Wright has made 445 appearances, 444 of them in relief.

His one start in the last seven-plus years was a similar spot start with Tampa Bay on Sep. 1, 2013, starting a bullpen game against the Athletics in Oakland. Wright in that game lasted 1⅔ innings, allowed a run and threw 36 pitches. The reasoning for Wright starting that game was that manager Joe Maddon didn't feel comfortable against the A's left-handed heavy lineup to start Roberto Hernandez.

Now teammates again in Los Angeles, Hernandez is a big reason for the bullpen getting taxed, with two starts totaling 7⅔ innings this week and none of his four starts in September lasting past 4⅓ frames.

The Cubs could have another bullpen game of their own, after getting three innings combined from their starters in the last two games. Jacob Turner is averaging five innings per start since joining the Cubs, and sports a 6.20 ERA in 103 innings.

The Dodgers faced him twice with the Marlins earlier this season, scoring 11 runs on 17 hits against him in 9⅓ innings in a pair of Dodgers wins.

Road warriors

Sunday marks the final regular season road game, and the Dodgers own the best away record in baseball at 48-32 (.600), matching the 1970 Dodgers for the fourth-best road mark since the franchise moved to Los Angeles. The only Dodgers years with better road records in the last 57 years are 1974 (50-31), 1988 (49-31) and 1963 (49-32).

Game info

Time: 11:20 a.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA