You get the feeling that the Dodgers will have a new closer soon.
Brandon League didn’t blow a save Tuesday, but he added another shaky performance to a long list of them in 2013. League allowed a pair of runs in the ninth inning, both on a Paul Goldschmidt home run that lifted the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 win at Dodger Stadium.
The Goldschmidt home run came on a belt-high sinker over the middle of the plate, the last of 11 pitches that included five foul balls after the count went full.
“My plan was to get Goldschmidt to ground into a double play,” League said. “That’s an example of what happens when you throw a good hitter a (feces-infused) pitch.”
League has allowed runs in seven of his 13 appearances. He is 0-2 with a 5.40 earned-run average. Is that enough to concern manager Don Mattingly?
“Some concerns, yeah,” he said. “Concerns like everybody else.
“Closers over the years, when one gets away, they come in a bunch.”
League was also the losing pitcher Saturday in San Francisco, the third of the Dodgers’ six straight losses. Giants catcher Guillermo Quiroz tagged League for a walk-off homer in the 10th inning. Like Tuesday, that was not a save situation.
“Top of the ninth, tie game at home is pretty much a save situation,” League said. “You’ve got to hold the game so you can walk ‘em off in the bottom of the ninth.”
The 30-year-old right-hander said his mechanics are fine, which was not the case when he arrived in Los Angeles last season in a midseason trade with the Seattle Mariners.
“I’m not all over the strike zone,” League said. “I’m just not executing what I need to execute.”
Judging by his pitch chart on FanGraphs.com, batters had been feasting on League’s fastball prior to tonight. Four of the six at-bats that ended in fastballs ended with hits.
Javy Guerra was 1-2 with three blown saves and (coincidentally) a 5.40 ERA when Mattingly replaced Guerra with Kenley Jansen on May 9 of last year. At the time, the Dodgers’ record was 20-11 and Jansen was 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA.
Now, Jansen is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. The two walks he allowed in the eighth inning Tuesday were just the fourth and fifth he’s issued in 17 innings.
More importantly the Dodgers are 13-19, in last place, and the need to make a move seems just as urgent.