Overshadowed by the bench-clearing ugliness of last night’s Dodgers-Diamondbacks game is that Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly finally decided to change closers, announcing beforehand that Kenley Jansen would replace Brandon League in the ninth inning.
Jansen has always been the far superior pitcher, but Mattingly has repeatedly resisted making a change despite League posting a 6.00 ERA and allowing runs in 11 of his 24 appearances. No doubt the front office overpaying League with a three-year, $22.5 million contract played a part.
Meanwhile, since debuting four years ago Jansen has a 2.27 ERA and incredible 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 174 appearances, including a 2.45 ERA and 45/6 K/BB ratio in 33 innings this season. During that same four-year span League has a 3.43 ERA and 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings. It’s been obvious for a while now who the Dodgers’ best reliever is.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.
Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.
The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.