Two home runs on offense, plus seven innings of one-run ball from Clayton Kershaw apparently STILL isn't enough for Brandon League.
One of, if not THE, worst closers in baseball blew it again on Monday, as the Diamondbacks scored a whopping four runs off of him in the ninth to erase a 3-1 deficit. A late solo shot by Juan Uribe got the Dodgers close again, but they came up short, 5-4. It was their third loss in a row to drop them even further back in the cellar of the NL West, which is exactly where they belong.
Kershaw got the Diamondbacks in order to start the game, then the offense actually strung together some hits for a run. Mark Ellis took a walk with one out, and then another out later, Yasiel Puig continued his scorching hot start with another single. An RBI single by Jerry Hairston came next, and it was 1-0.
The second and third saw Kershaw scuffle some, as he seemed to have a hard time getting his breaking stuff over for strikes, causing the DBacks to sit on the hard stuff. He only gave up one run, though, which was an RBI single by Miguel Montero in the second. Two hitters reached in the third, but Montero struck out to end it.
Uribe and Ellis had good nights at the plate, as they combined for five hits, three runs, and three runs driven in. In the fourth, an RBI double by Uribe scored Hairston to make it 2-1. Of course, the Dodgers managed to score only once despite three singles and a walk. That's our boys!
The next inning, Ellis golfed out a solo shot to left, his third on the season, increasing the lead to 3-1. Kershaw pitched through the seventh, and things were looking good.
Kenley Jansen continued that good vibe. He mowed through the DBacks with a strikeout, flyout, and popout, needing only 13 pitches.
Then League came in, and once again gave the Dodgers absolutely zero reason to feel confident in him. Here's what his inning looked like: strikeout, single, double, RBI infield single, walk, popout, two-run infield single. Peter Moylan had to come in and watch Peter Goldschmidt plate another run with an RBI single, then mercifully retired Cody Ross. Add it all up, and it was four runs on five hits and a walk.
Uribe tried to get the Dodgers back into it with a solo homer leading off the bottom of the ninth to make it 5-4. A double by Tim Federowicz and an error off a bunt by Skip Schumaker put runners on the corners with nobody out. Once again, things were looking up.
And then Nick Punto flew out, Ellis struck out, and Adrian Gonzalez grounded back to Heath Bell to end the game. Pathetic.
That's exactly how I would classify this whole ninth inning for the Dodgers: pathetic. From a closer who has no out pitch and a 6.00 ERA, to an offense that can't execute the simplest of plays and leaves two men in scoring position with nobody out in the ninth. It's all just embarrassing.
Don Mattingly absolutely HAS to get League out of the closer's role. I know the DBacks didn't scorch the ball off of him, and I know the offense fails again and again in big situations, but enough is enough. Jansen has closed before and clearly has better stuff to do it. Donny, make it happen! I'm all for showing confidence in players, but you also have to do the right thing for the team. And that right thing is getting League the hell out of the ninth inning.
Think about it - League is making everyone look bad. He makes himself look bad everytime he takes the mound. He makes his team look bad when he can't get big outs. He makes Mattingly look bad for continually running him out there. And he makes Ned Colletti look bad for that atrocious contract he signed this past offseason. There's nothing good about him right now.
Maybe Zack Greinke will throw a complete game shutout on Tuesday, because that's about the only way I see him getting a win. Please don't leave it up to League. You may as well just declare it a loss at that point.