Late-inning arms leading stellar Dodgers bullpen

Late-inning arms leading stellar Dodgers bullpen

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' bullpen should be at full strength when the team takes on the Nationals on Tuesday on the road as closer Kenley Jansen and lefty Scott Elbert are expected back.

In their absence, the rest of the bullpen has filled in more than admirably and manager Don Mattingly has been pleased with the job his relievers have done lately.

"Guys have really stepped up," Mattingly said.

"They've been good. They've hung in there and they've kept us in a lot of games. They've done a great job so far."

Dodgers relievers have allowed just two runs in their last 19 2/3 innings since Sept. 8 and four of them combined to throw 3 1/3 innings Saturday night after inheriting a jam from Joe Blanton.

Most notable have been the performances of the three late-inning relievers Mattingly has called upon -- Jamey Wright, Ronald Belisario and Brandon League.

Wright, who has been thrust into a much more pressure-filled role with Jansen out, has made 10 consecutive scoreless appearances and opposing batters are hitting just .147 (5-for-34) in that span.

League and Belisario, who both have closing experience, have split time in that role and they've both excelled.

Belisario hasn't given up a run since Aug. 17 through 16 1/3 innings and he's thrown 15 strikeouts in that stretch. League has held opposing batters to a .116 average (5-for-43) and he's allowed just one run in 13 1/3 innings since Aug. 21.