After being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July of 2012, Brandon League recorded six saves and had a 2-1 record with a 2.30 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. That October, the right-hander then signed a three-year, $22.5 million contract and was named the team’s closer.
League then struggled in 2013, first losing the closer’s job to Kenley Jansen, then to being used sparingly as he proved to be an unreliable reliever and other options emerged. Despite the Dodgers’ remarkable turnaround and postseason run, League’s season ended on the last day of the regular season as he was left off both the NLDS and NLCS rosters.
With the bullpen largely remaining intact and with new additions, League appeared to be in danger of losing a spot entirely. However, as manager Don Mattingly has had to call on his relievers at an alarming rate, League has been one of the few relief pitchers to perform well.
While League has pitched well thus far, he’s well aware of the tainted reputation he carries, which stems from last season, and hopes to continue moving forward, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I think 2013 is still fresh in everyone’s minds but mine,” League said. “This spring I said I’ve put it behind me and I just want to prove to myself that was an off year. All I can do is run out there and pitch well regardless of the results.”
League has the third-lowest ERA (1.96) among Dodger relievers, bested by only Chris Perez (1.88) and Chris Withrow (0.61). Including his two innings of work in Monday’s loss to the Washington Nationals, League has now thrown 12.0 innings and allowed one run. League hasn’t allowed an earned run since his April 15 appearance, which he suffered a loss in.
League’s resurgent season has come at a fortunate time for the Dodgers as the normally dependable Brian Wilson has struggled to duplicate last season’s effort. Wilson was placed on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his right elbow and has yet to look fully recovered. While League may not yet have the fans’ approval, more of what he’s shown will certainly get him back in their good graces.
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