Not only has Brandon League pitched his way out of the Dodgers’ closer job, it sounds like he won’t even be seeing any action as a setup man for a while.
Don Mattingly told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that he plans to only use League in “less stressful” situations, which is a nice way of saying “mop-up work.” According to the manager, the Dodgers’ coaching staff will try to “piece him back together” and in the meantime they’ll go with other options to hold leads in front of closer Kenley Jansen.
All of which certainly makes a lot more sense than sticking with League in high-leverage spots just because he’s got a $22.5 million contract. Dating back to May 1 he’s thrown 17 innings with a 6.75 ERA and 9/7 K/BB ratio, blowing three saves, taking three losses, and allowing opponents to hit .361.
The Marlins and Giants have some bad blood with each other. On Monday, closer Hunter Strickland had a meltdown, blowing a save after allowing three runs to the Marlins in the top of the ninth. Lewis Brinson drove in the tying run with a single. He could be seen flipping his bat and yelling something in excitement on his way to first base. Brinson ended up advancing to third before Strickland was pulled from the game. On his way out, Strickland started yapping at Brinson. In the clubhouse, Strickland punched a door in anger and broke his hand. The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a first-pitch fastball, which led to Dan Straily hitting Buster Posey.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, Giants reliever Mark Melancon went on KNBR’s Tolbert and Lund to talk about Brinson’s behavior. Here’s what he said:
My perspective was that he was disrespecting the game. I’m all for being excited and being happy you got a base hit there. There’s nothing wrong with that. But holding the bat out too long and flipping the bat, then rounding first and continuing to jaw. To me, it looked like he was looking right at Strickland. That’s just showing a guy up and it’s not needed. You know? Be happy, celebrate with the team. Do it right. But don’t rub it anybody’s face. That’s not the right way to go about it.
For what it’s worth, Strickland didn’t say much about the incident after Monday’s game. Via KNBR:
If players celebrating upsets the Giants so much that one of their players gets angry, punches a door, and breaks his hand, perhaps it’s unhealthy for them to focus on such behavior. Take a new philosophical approach so that your players don’t unnecessarily wind up on the disabled list for long chunks of time.
Brinson is 24 years old and hitting .180 in his first full major league season. Of course he’s going to be pumped up when he gets a big hit. Let the players have fun rather than policing their behavior. Maybe it’ll help bring fans back to the ballpark.