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The Dodgers flew to St. Louis last night, and boy are their arms tired

Minnesota Twins v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

As the Dodgers open a series in St. Louis, they come to town with an overly-taxed bullpen in the middle of a stretch of games with no days off. But some help, literal relief for the relievers is on the way.

The bullpen had to cover 21 innings in three games against the Twins, thanks to a brutal combination of two four-inning starts, one of the longest games in MLB this season, and Dustin May injuring his elbow and leaving after only one inning on Wednesday.

Phil Bickford threw 48 pitches in three extra innings on Monday night. Shelby Miller threw 30 pitches and got five outs on Monday, then threw 30 more pitches and got six outs on Tuesday.

Justin Bruihl pitched scoreless innings on Sunday and Monday, then was asked to pitch two innings Tuesday before getting optioned Wednesday. Dave Roberts said after Wednesday’s game that Bruihl will be activated Thursday when May goes on the injured list.

Dylan Covey joined the Dodgers on Wednesday, and filled in for four innings after May went down. Victor González pitched Tuesday and Wednesday, and has appeared in three games in the last four days. Evan Phillips and Caleb Ferguson have pitched four times in the last six days, and each threw at least 20 pitches Wednesday.

The Dodgers could use a lengthy start or three in this series, but luckily they have Julio Urías going in the opener against the Cardinals. Urías pitched seven innings in two of his last three starts, and has lasted at least 5⅔ innings in eight of his nine starts. The Dodgers haven’t gotten a start that long since Saturday, by Urías.

Reinforcements might also be coming in the form of an extra reliever, should Clayton Kershaw go on the bereavement list. Doing so by Thursday is necessary for him to make his Sunday start, since the minimum time on bereavement leave is three days.

The Dodgers have not yet announced any roster moves before Thursday, but here’s a look at where the bullpen stands in terms of usage over the last six days, since the last day off. The Dodgers have seven more games before their next day off.

Without yet knowing which pitcher other than Bruihl will be added, I’ve included Andre Jackson, Wander Suero, and Alex Vesia — the three 40-man pitchers currently in Triple-A — to the usage table below.

Recent Dodgers bullpen usage

Relief pitcher Fri, May 12 Sat, May 13 Sun, May 14 Mon, May 15 Tue, May 16 Wed, May 17 Total IP Total pitches
Relief pitcher Fri, May 12 Sat, May 13 Sun, May 14 Mon, May 15 Tue, May 16 Wed, May 17 Total IP Total pitches
Evan Phillips 1⅔ IP, 13 p 1 IP, 11 p 1 IP, 17 p 1 IP, 21 p 4⅔ 62
Brusdar Graterol ⅔ IP, 15 p ⅓ IP, 13 p 1⅓ IP, 16 p 2⅓ 34
Caleb Ferguson LHP ⅔ IP, 16 p ⅓ IP, 5 p ⅓ IP, 17 p ⅔ IP, 20 p 2 58
Victor González LHP 1⅔ IP, 27 p 1 IP, 17 p 1 IP, 12 p 3⅔ 56
Phil Bickford 3 IP, 48 p 3 48
Yency Almonte 1 IP, 13 p 1 IP, 27 p 2 40
Shelby Miller 1⅔ IP, 30 p 2 IP, 30 p 3⅔ 60
Justin Bruihl LHP 1 IP, 16 p 1 IP, 20 p 2 IP, 28 p 4 64
Andre Jackson 2 IP, 28 p* 2 28
Wander Suero 2 IP, 32 p* 2 32
Alex Vesia LHP 1 IP, 18 p* 1 IP, 18 p* 2 36
Dylan Covey 4+ IP, 63 p 4 63
*Games with Triple-A Oklahoma City