An open letter to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly:
1000 Elysian Park Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012-1199
Dear Mr. Mattingly,
I rarely try to get involved with my favorite professional sports team in the world – the Los Angeles Dodgers. Oh, I get involved with the team on a daily basis in as far as following it and cheering for it; I mean that I don’t try to tell folks who are employed by the Dodgers how to do their jobs.
Today, I am breaking that practice.
Mr. Mattingly, can I call you Don? Don, you need to implement an intervention in Los Angeles, and you need to do it ASAP! You don’t need Dr. Drew for this intervention, either. In fact, this intervention is solely in your hands.
Here is what you need to do, in five easy steps:
- Knock on GM Ned Colletti’s door and tell him that you are going to make a change with the Dodgers, and that you wanted to show him the courtesy of informing him first (notice, you’re not asking for his permission, you’re just being proactively communicative!).
- Go into the team clubhouse and tell Javy Guerra that you need to see him in your office. Ask Guerra how his face is feeling this morning after the liner he took off it from Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves. Thank Guerra for trying to answer the call as the Dodgers’ closer, but tell him you are making a change and he will, from this day forward, only pitch in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings.
- Go back into the clubhouse and tell Kenley Jansen that you need to see him in your office. Hand Jansen a baseball and tell him, “Son, the ninth inning is yours, and it’s time for you to kick its butt!”
- Schedule a team meeting and inform the rest of the Dodgers players that Jansen is now the team’s closer. Don’t take any questions about it, because no explanations are needed.
- Get the team ready to resume its winning that was put on hold the past two days.
Thanks so much, Don. Best of luck the rest of the way in 2012!
On April 17, Guerra had his first hiccup of the season against the Milwaukee Brewers when he allowed two hits and two runs in a one-run loss to the Brewers. On April 18, I posted a column on TTFB saying Guerra’s days as the Dodgers closer were numbered.
I was called crazy and not too intelligent after posting that column, but I got over that after a box of Kleenex and a half-gallon of Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
In that column, I predicted that Jansen would be the Dodgers’ closer by the All-Star break. I would like to retract that statement. I think he’ll be the closer before Memorial Day. If Jansen isn’t named the closer, then I’ll have a problem with Mattingly and Guerra.
Since that April 17 implosion, all Guerra has done for the Dodgers is this:
- Pitched 3.1 innings
- Suffered two losses
- Allowed seven hits
- Given up four earned runs
- Posted a 7.76 ERA
Jansen had a bump on the mound on April 13 when he allowed two earned runs in one inning of work against the San Diego Padres. All Jansen has done since that outing is this:
- Pitched 6.2 innings
- Allowed one hit
- Not given up a single run
- Struck out nine hitters
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see from these numbers that Guerra is struggling and Jansen is not. It is time for the Dodgers to make a change in the ninth inning. Guerra might one day become the Dodgers’ closer again, or he might not.
But the time has come to see if Jansen is as ready to be the closer in Los Angeles as he appears to be. A closer with three losses and an overall ERA of almost 6.00 isn’t the answer for a team that expects to contend for the playoffs this season.