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Monday, May 13, 2013
Bullpen changes could be coming

By Mark Saxon

LOS ANGELES -- If the Dodgers have a narrow lead in the ninth inning Monday night and Josh Beckett is out of the game, Brandon League would come in to pitch. Beyond that, manager Don Mattingly is making no pronouncements.

Asked if League is still his closer, Mattingly said, "Yeah, for right now he is. I hate to say it like that, but for now."

The situation certainly appears tenuous. In his past seven games, League has two losses, two blown saves and a 9.82 ERA. The main rival for the closer spot, Kenley Jansen, has 12 strikeouts in his past five games. League has five strikeouts in his past seven games.

In a way, Jansen's task has been harder, too. Mattingly typically tries to line Jansen up to pitch either the seventh or eighth inning, depending when the opponent's best hitters are coming up. Jansen might have overtaken League as the Dodgers closer by now had he not allowed a May 8 game-winning home run to Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt. The other ninth-inning option, Ronald Belisario, has been wildly inconsistent.

"Kenley has given up a game-winner, [League] has given up a game-winner, Belly has given up a game-winner," Mattingly said.

Here are lineups for Monday night's game versus the Washington Nationals:

Washington
1. Denard Span CF
2. Steve Lombardozzi LF
3. Bryce Harper RF
4. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
5. Adam LaRoche 1B
6. Ian Desmond SS
7. Danny Espinosa 2B
8. Kurt Suzuki C
9. Jordan Zimmermann RHP

Dodgers
1. Carl Crawford LF
2. Dee Gordon SS
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Matt Kemp CF
5. Andre Ethier RF
6. A.J. Ellis C
7. Skip Schumaker 2B
8. Nick Punto 3B
9. Josh Beckett RHP