The Dodgers today finally announced the demotion of closer Brandon League, and the promotion of set-up Man Kenley Jansen back into the closer role he should have been occupying long ago. This was after the latest debacle during last night’s 5-4 loss to the Dbacks. League was once again called into close despite opposing batters hitting .304 off of him. The right hander was allowing an unfathomable 10.5 hits per nine innings this season.
League predictably allowed four runs in the top of the ninth, and the Dodgers lost. This was League’s fourth blown game of the season, and his third in his last nine attempts. League’s ERA is over 6.00, and the Dodgers have now lost three in a row thanks to him.
This was an obviously elementary decision. League has been atrocious all season, and Kenley Jansen has been our best reliever. Of course this was bound to happen. It should have happened a long time ago. I’m happy with the change in roles, but why even keep League? Why not just rip up his contract and release him? Oh wait it’s the Dodgers we’re talking about so I’m sure they’ll suffer with him for another two years of his ridiculously absurd three year 22 million dollar contract.
The question remains why was League used last night? You would think that during a game against a division rival that holds first place would motivate Don Mattingly to make the right decision and bring in well, anybody but League in the ninth inning of last night’s disaster. You would think even more so in a game that was started by Clayton Kershaw.
What’s even more infuriating and disturbing is the way Mattingly is making his decisions on which reliever to bring into the late innings.
As Rob Neyer astutely points out, Mattingly continues to make the same mistakes over and over again. Mattingly is nothing more than a poor man’s version of Joe Torre. The old man loved to use incredibly small sample sizes to justify his stupid hokey match-ups. Mattingly is the same way, constantly using ridiculously small sample sizes to explain his “match-ups”. Sometimes he even bases his choices on only four or five at-bats. It’s so frustratingly annoying. Case in point last night….
As Neyer points out, Mattingly used a handful of at-bats to explain his reasoning for using League in the ninth of a game the Dodgers really had to win.
Mattingly defended his use of League in the ninth inning by citing matchups. The first three Arizona batters in the ninth were 0 for 5 against League, five for 10 against Jansen.
“Solid decision,” Mattingly said. “The fact a solid decision doesn’t work, it’s a bad decision.”
This is the guy making the decisions? This is our skipper? This is the guy responsible for leading us to a championship? What a joke. This is another prime example of the inept management that has plagued the Dodgers this season.
As Stacie said in her pregame, Jansen is obviously our best choice we have. Jansen is 1-3 with a 2.53 ERA in 32 games. In 36 innings this season he has whiffed 44 and walked only six. Last season he saved 25 games and whiffed 99 batters before succumbing to a heart condition. There is no question that Jansen is the best reliever we have.
Jansen should do fine in the closer role. Of course which pitchers take the ball in the seventh and eighth innings is open for debate. (Paco would be the best choice for the eighth inning.)
If the Dodgers wanted to make the most “solid” decision for the club it would be to just rip up League’s contract and give him his outright release. Yes I realize this means eating whatever is left on his contract, and yes that’s going to be a lot of money. I don’t care. Teams release lousy players all of the time. I would rather pay League to NOT pitch for the Dodgers, then to continue to make all of our lives miserable with his horrendous pitching. The time has come to put the needs of the team ahead of the needs of one terrible pitcher.