The Dodgers, who are already without both Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo, put another reliever on the DL Thursday after replacement closer Vicente Padilla came down with a sore forearm.
Padilla opened the season on the DL after elbow surgery, but he quickly claimed the closer’s after returning last month. That was because both original the Dodgers’ original closer, Broxton, and his presumed heir, Kuo, were struggling with injuries of their own.
With Padilla down, the Dodgers are left with Kenley Jansen, Matt Guerrier and Mike MacDougal as closing options.
Jansen, the converted catcher who was a sensation after debuting last year, was briefly sent down to Double-A last month, but he’s struck out seven in four scoreless innings since returning. He closed out a game last Friday after Padilla failed to get the job done in the ninth.
Guerrier would be manager Don Mattingly’s safest option, even though he’s a 32-year-old with six career saves to his credit. He picked up the save Tuesday in the Dodgers’ 3-0 win over the Brewers.
MacDougal is the man in the pen with all of the closing experience; he’s saved 70 games, including 20 with the Nationals in 2009. Still, he’s even wilder than Jansen, having walked nine batters in 14 2/3 innings this season.
Jansen is the one candidate of the three to run away with the job while Padilla is out. It’d certainly be best for Mattingly and the Dodgers if he could do so. Guerrier is at his most valuable working in tight games in the seventh and eighth innings.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.