The ice under Brandon League‘s feet is thicker than you might think.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly offered his second unenthusiastic endorsement for closer Brandon League this homestand Monday, sounding no closer to a long-term solution to the Dodgers’ growing ninth-inning problem.
Asked if League was still the closer one day after giving up two runs in the ninth inning in a non-save situation against the Miami Marlins, Mattingly said, “Yeah, for right now he is. I hate to say it like that but yeah, for now.”
League has allowed at least one run in three consecutive outings, raising his earned-run average to 6.28. He’s walked three of the 18 batters he’s faced in those games, after walking just one of the first 45 batters he faced this year.
When does League lose the job? What’s the tipping point?
“We walked off the field yesterday and we had a win,” Mattingly said. “We walked off the field shaking hands at the end of the day.”
In other words, until League blows his next save Mattingly doesn’t have enough ammunition to fire his closer. That would be the reactive approach — not the proactive approach some fans are hoping for.
The manager acknowledged the success of second-year reliever Paco Rodriguez, but didn’t sound as confident in his other late-innings options.
“Kenley’s given up a game-winner,” Mattingly said. “(League)’s given up a game-winner. Beli’s given up a game-winner. Paco has pitched really well. Kenley, for the most part, he’s been good. But the other day how we were able to use Kenley was different. We used him yesterday in a sense to go 1 ⅓, 1 ⅔, there. We had the lead and we actually add on. It gave us a cushion going into the ninth. If we use somebody else there, does it happen like that? You’ve got to get there somehow. I could have had Kenley sitting there, trying to get to him in the ninth, and never got there.”