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Dodgers bullpen has been up to the task during winning streak

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MLB: New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers close out the homestand with a pair of afternoon games, including Saturday against the Mets (1:05 p.m.; SportsNet LA, FS1). Max Scherzer is on the mound, trying to extend the latest Dodgers’ eight-game win streak.

There have only been 14 winning streaks of at least eight games this season in MLB, and the Dodgers have four of them. Only two other teams — Red Sox, Padres — have more than one such streak. If we lower the bar to streaks of seven wins or more, the A’s have three such runs.

The Dodgers’ longest streak this year is nine games, from June 25 to July 4.

During the Dodgers’ run of eight straight division titles, they’ve had five total win streaks of eight or more games before this season — one in 2013, one in 2019, and three in 2017, arguably the streakiest season in franchise history. The 2017 team had win streaks of 11, 10, and nine games, three different six-game win streaks, plus losing streaks of 11 and five games (both bunched together in a 17-game stretch).

Dodgers relief usage

Month Relief apps/gm Bullpen IP ERA
Month Relief apps/gm Bullpen IP ERA
April 3.27 33.7% 3.83
May 3.59 42.1% 3.73
June 3.27 37.7% 3.26
July 4.38 49.7% 3.71
August 3.82 48.8% 1.78
Bulk outings on a regular starter’s schedule (e.g. Andre Jackson on Monday) count as starts Openers and first pitchers of bullpen games count as relievers

Pitching has been the driving force of the Dodgers’ current streak, allowing 17 total runs in those eight wins. In August, the Dodgers as a team have a 1.97 ERA and 2.69 FIP in 17 games, both tops in the majors. It’s been a second straight month that Dodgers relievers have accounted for nearly half (48.8 percent) of the innings, and LA’s 4.76 pitchers used per game ranks seventh in the majors this month.

The danger of using relievers so often is that, occasionally when the bullpen gate swings open, someone’s going to have a bad day. But so far in August, that hasn’t been the case for the Dodgers.

Of the 81 total appearances by Dodgers pitchers in August, only twice has a single pitcher allowed more than two runs. Julio Urías allowed three runs in five innings in a start on August 7, and reliever Justin Bruihl allowed three runs in a four-batter relief outing in which he didn’t record an out. Both Urías and Bruihl gave up an unearned run in those games, so no Dodgers pitcher this month has allowed more than two earned runs in a game.

Postseason rematch

Old friend Rich Hill starts Saturday for the Mets, his second team of 2021. This sets up a rematch of Game 5 of the 2016 NLDS with Hill against Scherzer. Both pitchers allowed only one run in that game at Nationals Park, though Hill pitched only 2⅔ innings, striking out six.

A rainout earlier in the series scrambled the Dodgers’ pitching plans, and Hill was pitching Game 5 on three days rest. That was an all-hands-on-deck situation.

Also allowing one run on that night was Blake Treinen, who this year hasn’t allowed a run since July 27, with 16 strikeouts in 11 scoreless innings since. Treinen allowed a pair of unearned runs in July, but last allowed an earned run on June 23. In 23 games since, opposing batters are hitting .101/.163/.114 against him.

Game info

Teams: Dodgers (77-46) vs. Mets (60-62)

Location: Dodger Stadium

Time: 1:05 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA, FS1