Can Zack Greinke charm the Snakes?

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Dodgers Hand Ball to Greinke in Game Two vs. Snakes

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Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.89) vs. Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.72)

Lineup: 

Schumaker LF
Punto 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Puig RF
Ethier CF
Uribe 3B
Federowicz C
Cruz SS
Greinke P

Don Mattingly chose to stick with Brandon League in the ninth inning of Monday night’s series opener. The lost reliever once again was unable to gain command. League’s ERA ballooned to an even 6.00 after he allowed 4 runs on just 25 pitches. The awful outing earned him both the loss and a blown save, and once again he erased Clayton Kershaw‘s good work through 7 innings. Kershaw only allowed one run, yet League can blow 4 runs in just minutes.

 

All of us could see that League was all over the place right away, yet Mattingly stuck by his guns and let the tattooed reliever implode out on the mound. It’s puzzling since at other times Mattingly is so quick to bring the hook after a pitcher allows a single hit or walk. This time Mattingly sat idle in the dugout as League began to pitch batting practice right before our eyes. The game could have possibly been saved if Mattingly had brought in perhaps Paco or Howell, or heck even Guerrier has fared better this season than League.

It’s time to return Kenley Jansen to his much deserved role as closer on this team. Jansen is the better pitcher. The Dodgers need to consistently be able to strike out hitters and get the outs when needed in late innings. I trust Kenley far more than I ever did with League when it comes to holding a lead. Maybe Rick Honeycutt hasn’t been able to fix that “mechanical flaw” which League supposedly had or still has, or maybe it’s just because League is in decline or has been in decline now for awhile. Kenley, who underwent heart surgery this past offseason, has been healthy and reliable. He’s not perfect, but he’s the best choice we have right now.

Zack Greinke shined in his last start last Thursday when he pitched 7 innings of shutout ball against a

Ian Kennedy goes to the mound for the D-backs in game two. Photo: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

tough Atlanta team. Although Greinke is 3-0 at Dodger Stadium this season, he has not fared well against the Snakes over his career. In fact the righty is 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA against Arizona in five career starts. Not only was his last start his longest (7 innings), but he also struck out a season-high 7. Those aren’t Kershaw numbers, but Greinke is still recovering from a broken collarbone. Greinke has only allowed two homeruns in his 37 innings of work so far this season. Jason Kubel and Miguel Montero have both hit Greinke well, but Paul Goldschmidt hasn’t faced Greinke but once.

Ian Kennedy had a disastrous outing his last time out against St. Louis in a 12-8 loss. He was allowing runs at Brandon League proportions, and in four innings he’s served up 10 earned runs on 13 hits! This should be a perfect time for Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and the rest of the lineup to break out offensively for a change. The Dodgers faced Ian Kennedy back on April 13th in Arizona when he allowed 6 runs and 10 hits to the Dodgers. Over the span of his career, Kennedy is 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA against the Dodgers.

The injured ones continue to sit idly. Hanley Ramirez has hamstring fluid leakage in his knee, and the

June 10, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brandon League (31) returns to the dugout after being relieved in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers do not want to play him yet. Matt Kemp‘s hamstring still has a twinge, and Carl Crawford isn’t coming back anytime soon. Chris Capuano and A.J. Ellis are on track for rehab games soon. I miss A.J.

The Dodgers are 8 1/2 back of the D-backs in last place. With another loss tonight, they could be 10 games under .500 after.

Brandon League has been criticized across the internet, but it was Mattingly who left him in after he clearly could not find his command in the ninth inning last night. Brandon League now has a 6.00 ERA and many blown saves to show for it. While the Dodgers won’t release League due to his ridiculous three-year contract, the only solution may be to have League pitch in middle relief until he can hopefully rediscover his form. There’s absolutely no reason to throw him out there in a game saving situation right now. Give the ball to Kenley, the rightful closer!

The 7:10 p.m. game will be broadcast on KCAL tonight. Join us for our recap after the conclusion. Is it just me or is Vin Scully really enjoying watching Yasiel Puig play? I’m enjoying listening to him.

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Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Brandon League Ian Kennedy Los Angeles Dodgers Zack Greinke

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