Javy Guerra out as Dodgers closer
The decision by Mattingly comes on the heels of Guerra's third blown save of the season on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs.
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Mattingly informed Guerra of the decision several hours before the game. He later hinted to reporters that Guerra won't necessarily take over the eighth-inning setup role that Jansen is vacating because he wants to ease Guerra back into situations in which he can hopefully regain his flagging confidence.
"I have said all along I didn't want to have to do this," Mattingly said. "But really, it's one of those things where I don't want to be hard-headed, either. ... The game will tell you when to do it. With Javy, the game made the decision. I didn't have to make it. The game made it for me."
Although Mattingly didn't identify a primary setup man, the most likely candidate for the eighth-inning role probably is right-hander Josh Lindblom, who arguably has been the Dodgers' best reliever this season, posting a 2.35 ERA in 13 appearances -- his ERA would be even more impressive if not for a lone bad outing in which the Colorado Rockies tagged him for three runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Jansen has a 2.70 ERA and is averaging 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings after setting a major league record with 16.2 per nine innings last year, but he also has been inconsistent -- he has two saves and one blown save, and his career ninth-inning ERA is 5.59 compared to 0.70 in the eighth -- and he is getting the job on a trial basis.
He is going to get the first shot at it,'' Mattingly said. "Kenley, with all the strikeouts, really profiles more as that guy, but the ninth inning is a different animal.''
Mattingly also declined to assign a specific role to Guerra, who took over the closer's role midway through last season and saved 21 games as a rookie.
"I will use Javy all over," Mattingly said. "We're going to try to get (his confidence) back as much as anything else because he is going to be a valuable guy. We are going to need big outs from all our guys no matter how you define their roles."