Javy Guerra was given the opportunity to open the season as the Dodgers’ closer after posting a 2.31 ERA and 21 saves in 23 chances last year, but most felt it was only a matter of time before Kenley Jansen would stake his claim on the role. That time is now.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly just announced that Guerra has been formally demoted from the closer role and Jansen will take over.
Guerra blew his third save of the season yesterday, giving up one run on two hits and a walk in an eventual extra-inning loss to the Cubs. The 26-year-old right-hander has allowed eight earned runs over 12 1/3 innings (12 1/3 innings) so far this year after allowing just 12 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings last year.
While Guerra has struggled in the early going, Jansen has picked up from where he left off in 2010 and 2011 by posting a 2.70 ERA and 27/7 K/BB ratio across 16 2/3 innings. It was a nice luxury to have him available for high-leverage situations in a set-up capacity, but the hard-throwing right-hander has the kind of electric stuff to hold down the closer gig for a long time.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs NLCS Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
We’re pulling out the big guns for this one. The Cubs took Los Angeles by storm again in Game 5, closing out their road trip with an eight-run spread over the Dodgers, and tonight they’ll try to clinch the NLCS on home turf in Game 6.
Pitching-wise, it’s a rematch of Game 2 with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on the mound. Kershaw took the first set against the Cubs, going seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Game 2 while Hendricks held the Dodgers to a single run over 5 1/3 innings. Adrian Gonzalez was the only Dodger to capitalize on Hendricks’ cutter, going yard in his first at-bat to generate a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs’ biggest strength so far this series has been an electric offense, something the Dodgers have struggled to replicate against left-hander Jon Lester and Joe Maddon’s airtight bullpen. While they’ve already beaten Hendricks at Wrigley Field once this October, they’ll need Kershaw to go the distance in another playoff gem if they intend to keep the Cubs’ championship hopes at bay with a 3.4-run average. Should Kershaw and his crew knot the series again, the tiebreaker will fall to Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.