Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Things were looking bleak for the Dodgers. Trailing 4-1 in the 4th inning with two runners on base, the Mets were about to blow open the game against Dodger pitcher Kiroki Kuroda. Then the bullpen phone rang, and up got none other than HongZhi Guo. He had been called upon to rescue the Dodgers before, but this would be a difficult task against the NL East leading Mets. Guo immediately struck out both Carlos DelGado and Angel Pagan to retire the side, then went on to strike out 8 Mets batters in 3-2/3 innings, for an amazing K/9 of 19.6 for the game. Guo entered the game with a Dodger win expectancy of 34.1% and left the game with a win expectancy of 78.7%. The only two Mets batters to reach base against Guo were on a walk and a hit batter. Guo's bullpen statistics now look as good as any top closer in the game. Let's take a look and compare Guo's bullpen stats to Broxton's and Saito's numbers thus far.

Bullpen Stats
Guo 13-2/3 23 3 15.15 1.98 0.66 0.80
Saito 15-1/3 16 5 9.39 2.93 0.59 1.17
Broxton 15 21 6 12.60 3.60 0.00 1.00

It's not the largest sample size in the world, but nonetheless Guo has put up better numbers pitching out of the bullpen than both Saito and Broxton. The big question would be whether or not Guo would be able to keep up this pace pitching in late inning, high leverage situations. Guo would be a better option as a 5th starter (when needed) than Esteban Loaiza, but after Guo's magnificent performance last night, manager Joe Torre when asked if Guo would be the 5th starter come May 17th said no.

Tony Jackson - Daily News
"No," Torre said. "That second left-hander in the bullpen ... that's important."

Well, if the Dodgers are going to keep Guo in the bullpen, then they need to start giving him some higher leverage situations to pitch in. I am a little worried about Guo being the mop up pitcher for Loaiza and Kuroda et al. If you are going to keep Guo in the bullpen, then by all means call up Clayton Kershaw to make a few starts in the 5th starter role. If Kershaw is not an option this early in the season, then use Guo as the 5th starter. Leaving Guo in the bullpen is fine, but let's start using him in some higher leverage situations and demote Scott Proctor to mop up duty.

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