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.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.