I got some really bad news for you guys this afternoon. I really hate be the bearer of bad news, but this could majorly impact the Dodgers’ bullpen in the most dramatic fashion, and in the absolute worst way possible.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was held out of the Dodgers last two games on Tuesday and Wednesday because of his recurring heart condition. Last season Kenley about a month on the disabled list with an irregular heartbeat. He looked to be in line to takeover as the Dodgers primary closer and the stint on the disabled list allowed Javy Guerra to run away with the closer role. Jansen ended up having to take blood thinners to get his condition under control. There were also some major concerns of possible hemorrhaging, the Dodgers placed Jansen under strict supervision, severely limiting his baseball activities.
If this is history repeating itself, Jansen could be in danger of being shut down for the rest of the season. Kenley currently has an ERA of 2.54 with 25 saves, and 86 strikeouts. Jansen has a 3.0 BB/9, a 13.7 SO/9, and a WHIP of 0.882. Jansen does, however, have 6 blown saves, but 5 have come trying to protect a one-run lead. Jansen has 9 saves holding a one-run lead, which in’t too bad for the 24-year-old youngster. Jansen has been one of the MLB’s more reliable closers this season, and has been very dependable for the Dodgers since taking the closer role from Javy Guerra in May.
Jansen, was reportedly addressed by the media after the Dodgers’ 10-8 victory over the Rockies, but would not provide any details or information, and did not give the training staff permission to discuss it. That’s not very reassuring…sigh…
The Dodgers did release some info that the problem was related to Jansen’s heart problem that he experienced last season. With Jansen unavailable, the Dodgers used Ronald Belisario to close Wednesday’s game, earning his first save of the year. Should Jansen be out for an extended period of time it will be interesting to see what direction the Dodgers decide to go with the closer role. Brandon League may be the in-house favorite, as he had 37 saves for the Seattle Mariners in 2011. However, 2012 hasn’t been quite so kind to League and his stat line. League has 4.02 ERA with 38 strikeouts, a 4.0 BB/9, a 6.4 SO/9, and a WHIP of 1.509. Not exactly what you want from a pitcher when the game is on the line.
Javy Guerra could be recalled from Triple-A and be given his closer role back. After all, Guerra had 21 saves for the Dodgers in 2011, and has 8 in 2012. Guerra was the Dodgers savior in the bullpen last season, perhaps with a second chance, he could be again. Guerra has an ERA of 2.66, a 4.5 BB/9, a 7.6 SO/9, and a WHIP of 1.500.
Then there is the darkhorse in Belisario who has an ERA of 2.84 with 47 strikeouts, a BB/9 of 3.7, a SO/9 of 8.3, and a WHIP of 1.007. Tough call for Don Mattingly and his coaching staff to make. If Jansen is out, a closer by committee is something I think would be ill-advised. The Dodgers need to appoint a closer and put faith in him. I think going with a committee approach is a foolish mistake made by a lot of team’s these days. Wishy-washy bull is just not how this guy rolls, so Mattingly will need to trust one of his guys to get the job done, and to get it done right.