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Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker talks series with Dodgers, bullpen usage and more...

Dusty Baker wondered about the lasting effects of the way the Dodgers used their pitchers in beating the Nationals in the NLDS. He elaborated on his thoughts in an interview this week...

MLB: NLDS-Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Once the Los Angeles Dodgers ousted the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker talked to reporters about LA’s skipper Dave Roberts’ decision to use closer Kenley Jansen to get seven outs in the decisive Game 5 before he brought Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen for the last two in the lefty’s third appearance of the series.

“They were doing everything they could to close that game out,” Baker said, “including bringing Jansen in in the seventh.

“You know, wish they would have brought somebody else in, but they brought in one of their other horses. And so I'd be interested to see, you know, they won the war, but see the effects of Jansen and Kershaw when they get to Chicago.”

Asked about the trend of using your closer or late-inning relievers for multiple innings, Baker said, “it's not a trend, you know, that I'd like to be a part of any time.”

Baker elaborated on his thoughts on how the Dodgers managed their bullpen in the NLDS earlier this week in an interview with MLB on TuneIn hosts Holden Kushner and LaTroy Hawkins.

He said his concern was more about how the Dodgers’ pitchers would come out of the postseason and how that would affect the perception of Dave Roberts.

Baker noted that they might not know how things work out until they start to throw again next Spring.

“I mean, you don’t know,” Baker explained. “I mean it may come back and bite them now or it may come back and bite them later. I remember I was the victim of a lot of criticism in Chicago, and I didn’t even really know that these guys were hurt or anything happened until the next spring, [when] you get to Spring Training.

“And so you’re surprised. I’m just hoping that — Jansen’s a free agent, and Kershaw, they have him for a number of years.

“I just hope that this doesn’t happen to the Dodgers, and I certainly hope it doesn’t happen to Dave [Roberts] and his reputation, because he’s just starting out in the game as a manager.”

While it’s been a trend to extend relievers in the postseason, Baker said when asked that it wasn’t a thing he expected to see happen in the regular season, for obvious reasons.

“I can see it during the playoffs. I can’t see it during the regular season,” he explained, “because you’re going to have to have a 30-man pitching staff in order to do that.

“During the season you’re playing 17-to-20 days in a row. This is how a team gets in a bad way. That’s how you start a 12-or-13-game losing streak, by having your bullpen upside down.

“In the playoffs, the most you’re going to play is three days in a row most of the time, or a lot of times, just two days in a row, so you can do that with your bullpen when you’re pitching two days in a row, then you have a day off, then you have another couple days in a row then a day off.”

Baker’s closer this season, Mark Melancon, who’s set to hit free agency once the World Series ends, shared similar thoughts this weekend, in an article by John Perrotto at Today’s Knuckleball in discussing bullpen usage in the regular vs postseason:

“The postseason is totally different than the regular season because so much is at stake that everyone in the bullpen is ready to pitch from the first inning on. However, over a 162-game regular season, guys need to know their roles to be prepared from a mental standpoint or otherwise you would burn out by sitting there on the edge of your seat from the first pitch.”

I’m not sure anyone is talking about using Jansen’s and Andrew Millers of the world in the regular season like their managers have in the postseason, for the reasons talked about above.

Baker said he understood that when the season is on the line, however, you will have to extend some pitchers.

“Everybody has to overextend to some point in time,” he said. “Because the people are interested in you winning. When I look back at [Madison] Bumgarner, was he affected by that? And I look at [Barry] Zito and I look at the whole staff over there [in San Francisco] were they affected by three or four championships? You look at Zito, you look at [Tim] Lincecum. A lot of time that extra time that you spend, that extra month that you spend where everybody else is home resting and recuperating, you really don’t have that time to rest and recuperate like everybody else. And a lot of times it doesn’t show until next year.”

Check out the entire interview with Baker through the link below: