Brandon League out as closer

Updated: June 11, 2013, 8:47 PM ET
By Mark Saxon |

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly watched his closer, Brandon League, on Monday night blow his fourth save in 17 chances, frittering away a two-run lead against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks and squandering a strong performance by Clayton Kershaw.

On Tuesday, he made a change.

Mattingly said Kenley Jansen will assume the closer's duties and League will be shifted back to eighth-inning duties, his role most of his career.

"We've been trying to stabilize the back of the bullpen from the very beginning," Mattingly said. "It's an unsettling feeling late in games. We haven't given ourselves that many opportunities to win those games, so when you do and then you can't close it, it hurts the whole team."

League has a 6.00 ERA and 1.458 WHIP. Jansen has a 2.53 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. League has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.86. Jansen's is 7.33.

Mattingly had been using Jansen to attack the other team's best hitters, but that doesn't work if the seventh- and ninth-inning relievers can't hold the line. The chore of ending tight games successfully has been short-circuited because League and Ronald Belisario are struggling in tandem.

Jansen retired Willie Bloomquist, Paul Goldschmidt and Cody Ross on Monday, but League imploded starting with the bottom of Arizona's lineup.

"I don't know that it works better this way," Mattingly admitted. "I wish I could say we've got the sixth through ninth covered, you get there and it's over. But a lot of teams have bullpen problems."

Mark Saxon
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.



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