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Dodgers beleaguered by continued use of Leaguer as closer

Manager Don Mattingly continued to stick by Brandon League after his latest poor outing on Monday night.


Brandon League continued his poor season on Monday night, as the soon to be former closer allowed four runs in the ninth inning to blow a much needed win as the Dodgers lost 5-4 at Dodger Stadium.

Against Arizona the Dodgers have lost five straight, eight of their last nine, and 16 of their last 19 meetings.

It looked like things were going to end differently, as the Dodgers entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 advantage. But League retired just two of his seven batters faced, and blew his fourth save. League has two other losses, a 6.00 ERA, and has allowed a run in 11 of his 24 outings this season.

Opposing batters are hitting .304/.350/.479 off League.

League simply can't be allowed to close games anymore, but his problem is emblematic of the 2013 Dodgers. The high-priced players for the most part are either injured or not performing, or both. But as satisfying and simple as the solution of releasing League and his $22.5 million contract might be, the fact is that the Dodgers will need him to get outs at certain parts of the game, because Chris Withrow, Steven Ames or Josh Wall aren't appreciably better, if at all.

Those outs just shouldn't come in the ninth, or even the eighth, at least not any time soon.

But the loss was doubly frustrating because the Dodgers rallied themselves in the ninth. Down 5-3, Juan Uribe homered to pull the Dodgers within one, then they put runners at the corners with nobody out against Heath Bell. But the rally died with a shallow fly out, a strikeout and a bouncer back to the box, and the Dodgers lost, with Yasiel Puig on deck.

In many of the other lopsided matchups, and the Dodgers got just about all of them to fall in their favor.

Mark Ellis, who snapped an 0-for-17 skid on Sunday, returned to the second spot in the batting order Monday night and was 3-for-4, including 2-for-2 with a home run and a walk against Arizona starter Wade Miley. In his career, Ellis is 10-for-20 (.500) against Miley with four home runs.

Clayton Kershaw quieted the red-hot bat of Paul Goldschmidt, the National League RBI leader hitting .320/.398/.589 entering play. Goldschmidt was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Kershaw on Monday and in his career is 2-for-20 against the left-hander with nine strikeouts.

Yasiel Puig continued his dominance against, well everyone. Puig was 3-for-4 on Monday and is hitting .500/.515/.938 (16-for-32) through his first eight games. He was 2-for-3 against Miley and against left-handed pitchers this season Puig is hitting .588 (10-for-17) with two home runs and two doubles.

Jerr Hairston started batting fifth for the seventh time this year, and picked up his second three-hit game of the season. In his seven starts batting fifth this year Hairston is hitting .400 (10-for-25).


  • Monday was Kershaw's seventh game this season of at least seven innings with zero or one run allowed. That is tied for most in the majors with Matt Harvey of New York.
  • Kershaw lowered his ERA to 1.88 on the season, taking over the National League lead from Shelby Miller of St. Louis (1.91).
  • Per Elias, Puig now holds the Dodgers record for most hits through 8 games, with 16. The previous record was 13, shared by Gibby Brack (1937) and Ben Geraghty (1936)
  • Puig's six multi-hit games are the most ever by a Dodger through eight games.
  • Skip Schumaker entered the game late in a double switch and had a sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning. Since that was his only plate appearance, his hitting streak remains alive, still at 15 games.
  • Former UCLA right-hander Charles Brewer, just recalled from Triple-A Reno on Monday,made his major league debut and pitched a perfect seventh inning, including a strikeout of Justin Sellers. Tim Federowicz greeted him with an opposite field drive, but right fielder Gerardo Parra caught it at the top of the right field wall to prevent extra bases. Brewer also pitched the eighth and loaded the bases with nobody out, but got out of it unscathed with the help of Tony Sipp and a bad call by first base umpire Clint Fagan.

Up next

Zack Greinke gets the call on Tuesday for the Dodgers in the middle game of the series, facing former USC pitcher Ian Kennedy.

Monday particulars

Home run: Mark Ellis (3), Juan Uribe (3)

WP - Tony Sipp (3-1): 1 up, 1 down

LP - Brandon League (2-3): ⅔ IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Sv - Heath Bell (12): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 strikeout