Jun 5, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Phil Bickford (52) follows through on a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Bickford off to incredible start with the Dodgers

With injuries to key relievers and young arms not panning out as expected, picking up Phil Bickford off of waivers was an incredible move from the front office.

Photo credit: Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

Phil, Philly B, or Phil Bickford (if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) is shaping up to be the next name on the long list of excellent acquisitions made by President Andrew Friedman and co. The Dodgers picked up the Ventura native and Christian Oaks alum off of waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers over a month ago on May 3rd and since then has been absolute nails. 

His name picked up chatter June 10th against the Pirates after recording his first career save due to the game called on a rainout in the 8th. 

Bickford has been one of 6 pitchers to record a save so far this season and shows fans how deep the MLB’s 9th best bullpen is despite all the moans and groans heard in the early parts of this season.

In 8 appearances so far this season, he has totaled 7 innings, allowing 0 earned runs, 4 hits, 1 BB, and 9 strikeouts. His runner’s left on base rate is a stellar 73.2%, and strikeouts per nine is sitting at a solid 9.4. 

Bickford was acquired a day after the infamous 16-4 thumping of the Brewers that was all smiles for the Dodgers after grand slams from Matt Beaty and AJ Pollock. Correction, everyone was smiling except for reliever Mike Kickham who gave up 3 earned runs in 1 inning of work and was designated for assignment the next day. 

Bickford wasn’t on the active roster immediately but got called up on May 23rd after Jimmy Nelson hit the 10-day injured list with forearm inflammation. In his first appearance later that day against the first-place Giants, he was able to record the final 2 outs of a nightmare 8th inning where Edwin Uceta gave up 3 runs, 2 hits, and 2 walks. 

There are still over 100 games left in the regular season, but if he keeps this pace up, there is no reason for him to be kept off the postseason roster. He might be best served in the janitor role, where he cleans up the mess left by starters. If a starter doesn’t have enough left in the tank to finish an inning, Dave Roberts can use someone like Bickford to eat up a couple of outs, allowing Blake Treinen or Victor Gonzalez to start innings in more ideal scenarios. 

Sabermetrics aside, Bickford is meant to be a Dodger. When asked if there was any particular guy he’s been drawn to in the bullpen, he gave an answer that fits perfectly with the Socal vibe:

“Pretty much everybody comes to mind… There is just an incredible amount of dudes in the bullpen, and it’s not just their dudes, and they’re some of the best at what they’ve done in the MLB. It’s also that they’re incredible people, too.”

The Bickford experience has gotten off to a superb start, and I’m ready to see where things go from here. 

When Matt isn’t blogging about the Dodgers he’s yelling at his TV because of them

Twitter: Mattweiner20