Morrow an unexpected cog in Dodgers' bullpen

Veteran starter-turned-reliever has blossomed in 2017

Morrow an unexpected cog in Dodgers' bullpen

LOS ANGELES -- Brandon Morrow knew this time would come.

In a season where the Dodgers received unexpected contributions from the likes of rookie Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and Alex Wood, Morrow, a veteran of 11 big league seasons, is among the bigger surprises. A starter-turned-reliever, Morrow has worked has worked as a bridge to the Dodgers' All-Star closer, Kenley Jansen, baffling hitters with his fastball that sits at 98 mph.

Game Date Results Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 LAD 9, ARI 5 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 7 LAD 8, ARI 5 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 9 LAD 3, ARI 1 Watch

"I felt really good going into the offseason last year," said Morrow, who signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers in January. "I wanted to give myself an opportunity with a team that I thought had a really good chance of not only winning the division but going deep in the playoffs. I kind of always bet on myself and that aspect."

Morrow can get out lefties out even more effectively than he can get righties out. Right-handed hitters had a .231 average vs. Morrow, left-handers hit .125 and Morrow didn't allow a homer in 43 2/3 innings of work in the regular season. He'll no doubt get a chance to show his stuff during the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile against the D-backs, which begins tonight.

"He's a [high] leverage guy," manager Dave Roberts said. "We trust him in big spots in different parts in the lineup."

Injuries have caused Morrow's last few seasons to be cut short. There was the season-ending surgery in 2015 to fix a shoulder impingement and while rehabbing from that, Morrow lost weight after dealing with valley fever, causing him to miss time a year ago.

But Morrow has stayed healthy this season, setting up his breakout year.

The hard-throwing righty, who didn't make the roster out of Spring Training, has settled in the Dodgers' bullpen and could be expected to pitch longer than he did in the regular season.

With the unpredictability of October and Morrow's experience as a starter, he could be a candidate to pitch multiple innings in a playoff game if need be.

"Guys are going to be extended a little bit," Roberts said. "His ability, former starter, we haven't gone more than two innings with him this year, it's probably not out of the realm of possibility. But I know that he's prepared for whatever task is asked of him."

Said Morrow: "You kind of have to stay ready. I started for six, seven years, so I should have no problem going back out and get multiple innings."

Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.