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Dodgers have been a nightmare for closers this season

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers stunned the Marlins thanks to Yasiel Puig hitting a three-run home run against closer AJ Ramos in the ninth inning. The two-out rally, which also included a hit and a walk, is nothing new to the Dodgers in 2017.

With two outs and nobody on in the ninth, the Dodgers’ expected win probability was just 3.6 percent, per FanGraphs.

Source: FanGraphs

The Dodgers are now 6-26 (.188) when trailing to start the ninth inning in 2017. That winning percentage looks paltry, but that’s because winning when trailing to open the ninth is a very difficult situation. Entering Friday, the MLB record in that situation was 60-1,152 (.050).

In 2016, the Dodgers were 5-61 (.076) in games that they trailed to start the ninth inning.

The trend is not lost on the Dodgers’ closing counterpart, Kenley Jansen:

Jansen, who retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth on Friday, has 22 saves this season and hasn’t yet blown one. His ERA is 0.93.

The closers who have faced the Dodgers? They haven’t been quite as good.

I looked through every real save situation against the Dodgers this season. That discards blown saves that were rewarded after the fact. Adam Ottavino and his umpteen wild pitches on June 25 earned a blown save, but he entered that game in the seventh inning. That was not a real save opportunity. Had the Rockies held the lead under Ottavino, they eventually would have used closer Greg Holland — as long as he didn’t have to face Jansen, of course.

There have been 25 real save situations against the Dodgers this season, and only 17 have been converted. Eight of them haven’t been converted, including Raisel Iglesias asked to get a five-out save for the Reds on June 11, and Pirates closer Tony Watson failing to hold the lead in his four-out save attempt on May 9.

The numbers in total for those 25 games are not pretty, except for the Dodgers. Pitchers in these save situations have a 9.82 ERA and 7.06 FIP in 22 innings. They have allowed 25 runs (24 earned) on 30 hits in 22 innings, with 15 walks and 34 strikeouts, and a whopping nine home runs. That’s one home run every 2.44 innings, or roughly two in every five chances.

To put that in perspective, MLB pitchers in save situations -- this counts all save situations, even the not real save situations like I described above, but I’m unsure how to remove them from the league totals without scrutinizing each game — had a 3.87 ERA (compared to 4.22 relief ERA in non-save situations) and one home run allowed per 8.38 innings.

Up next

Alex Wood takes the mound on Saturday, the same mound where he made his first All-Star appearance just four days earlier. Jose Urena starts for the Marlins in the middle game of the series, another 4:10 p.m. PT start.