LOS ANGELES — It’s been a rough but ultimately rewarding few days for Dodgers pitcher Josh Ravin.
The 29-year-old right-hander sat on a bus driving from Iowa, where the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers were wrapping up a road trip, to Oklahoma for five hours in the small hours Monday morning. Ravin and pitcher Edward Paredes then waited for another bus to take them to the airport. There, they waited through an hour-long delay before takeoff, then another hour-long delay upon landing in California.
Mix in the adrenaline of being called up to the major leagues, and Ravin and Paredes weren’t able to sleep as much as they would like. Such is life sometimes on the “Oklahoma City shuttle.”
When Ravin finally got into a game and pitched three scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night, he did the Dodgers a tremendous service. Their regular long reliever, Brock Stewart, moved into the starting rotation Wednesday. Manager Dave Roberts was bracing for the possibility of a “bullpen game.” He needed someone to eat innings.
“Those are conversations that we had this past winter,” Roberts said, “where looking at what Josh did for us in September and potentially how our ’pen would be constructed, and the value of a person who could go two or more innings, would be huge for us. I think if you look at stretching guys like (Brandon) Morrow out, (Josh) Fields is not really a two-inning guy – he’s maybe a one-plus. So to have Ravin be able to eat up six outs and pitch him in leverage spots is huge.
“(Tuesday) was a big night for us, for him.”
Ravin needed only 33 pitches to record nine outs.
In six professional seasons as a relief pitcher, Ravin had completed three innings only once before, at Triple-A. For years he struggled with command but used a fastball that breached 100 mph to be useful in short situations. To become anything more than that, Ravin would need better command and better secondary pitches. Tuesday he had both.