Chris Perez at peace with his workload

In the eighth inning Wednesday with the Dodgers leading the Phillies 5-2, right-handers Kenley Jansen and Chris Perez were warming up in the bullpen.

The decision of who would pitch the ninth inning literally came down to the last minute. Had Adrian Gonzalez delivered an RBI in the final at-bat of the inning, Perez would have gotten the ninth. Instead, Gonzalez flied out to deep center field.

It was a save situation, so Jansen got the ball. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his eighth save. It was his 15th appearance of the season, which leads the major leagues.

Perez had at least two ways to react to the situation. He’s saved 132 games in his career. Why not try and make it 133, while Jansen hasn’t had back-to-back days off since April 10-11?

Alternatively, he could accept his role, which the 28-year-old did Thursday.

“Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations coming in (to the season),” he said. “I just wanted to come in and be able to get some outs. They could use me however they want.”

It’s because of his experience that Perez is at peace with manager Don Mattingly’s decision Wednesday.

“It’s usually feast or famine,” he said. “You go through a stretch where you get a bunch of save opportunities in a row, or you go through a stretch where we’re scoring a lot of runs and the other team’s not, and you’re just trying to get some work in.

“This year it’s been a little more consistent appearance-wise. I’ve been used in all types of games, whether we’re up or down. It keeps me sharp.”

The opposite has been true for Jansen, who was on pace to appear in 110 games going into Thursday’s game between the Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

Mattingly is aware of Jansen’s workload. Like Perez, he believes in the law of averages – that the need for a closer tends to balance out over the course of one season.

“There’s been some factors where our starters are 12th in innings pitched in our league,” Mattingly said. “We’ve had to get almost 80 innings out of our bullpen. Our starters have thrown (124). We’ve asked a lot of innings out there. So guys are getting more usage.

“It’s going to get better. We’re seeing it get better because guys are getting stronger.”

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