Dodgers likely to stick with Javy Guerra as closer

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Javy Guerra did an excellent job stepping into the Dodgers’ closer role as a rookie, converting 21-of-23 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 38/18 K/BB ratio in 47 innings after replacing Jonathan Broxton.

Kenley Jansen was even better in a setup role, setting the all-time record for strikeouts per nine innings while holding opponents to a ridiculous .159 batting average.

Jansen’s dominance led to some speculation that he’d be given an opportunity to supplant Guerra in the ninth inning, but today manager Don Mattingly told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he’s “going into camp thinking Javy is the guy.”

That could change in a hurry, of course, and having Jansen available to pitch any inning and any situation could potentially be more valuable to the Dodgers than limiting him to the ninth inning with leads of 1-3 runs anyway. Either way, if Jansen pitches like he has while posting a 2.12 ERA and 137 strikeouts through his first 81 career innings I’d be surprised if he’s not closing games at some point. Guerra is good, but he’s great.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.