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5 Options the Dodgers Should Try Out As a Closer in September

The Dodgers have one month to put together the postseason roster.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Joe Kelly #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on May 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Dodgers should look at a couple of options to close games and help Kenley Jansen out. Jansen has blown 7 saves this season and has a career high 3.83 ERA in 51 appearances. The Dodgers can’t afford another postseason heartbreak, and in order to prevent that from happening, Dave Roberts must find the right closer for the postseason. 

Moreover, Roberts is aware of “obvious frustration” the closer is dealing with, but he plans to keep running Kenley out there to “see how he responds.” Instead, it may be best get him away from the 9th inning while he works through some things.

With that said, here are 5 options to try out as a closer in September, and possibly moving Jansen to a set-up role.

5. Yimi Garcia

Garcia started off the season with a 5.04 ERA through the end of May. In June and July, Garcia had an ERA of 2.89. He allowed 7 R combined, in 23.1 innings pitched. In August, Yimi showed that he can deliver in big moments. This month has been his best of the season, with 14.1 IP, allowing 10 H, 4 ER, 4 HR, and struck out 21 batters. 

4. Julio Urias

Urias has served as a relief pitcher for most of this season, and he will likely be in that role during the postseason as well. We’ve seen lefty perform in the postseason where he did not disappoint. This season, he has an ERA of 2.53. The best month he’s had in June. In June, Urias had 19 IP, allowing 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, adding 16 K, and an impressive ERA of 0.95. He finished the month with a 2-0 record. 

3. Kenta Maeda

Kenta Maeda has been a great relief pitcher throughout his career. This season, Maeda has struggled as a starter, particularly on the road. Maeda is likely to be a relief pitcher in the postseason. He’s been featured in just 2 games a relief pitcher, allowing 0 H, and 0 R, adding 3 K in 3 IP. Maeda will likely be in a setup role in the postseason, but Dave Roberts should give Maeda a chance to close out a game or two in September.

2. Casey Sadler

Sadler has become a fan favorite. The Dodgers acquired Sadler prior to the trade deadline and he made his Dodgers debut on July 15th against the Philadelphia Phillies. In July he tossed 8.1 IP with 7 Ks, while allowing 4 H and 1 R. He finished the month of July with an ERA of 1.08. In August, Sadler pitched in 10.1 innings, gave up 12 H, 4 R, 2 HR, and struck out 7 batters. Sadler should be given a chance to close games and prove to Dave Roberts what he’s made of.

1. Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly is a World Series Champion. He pitched some of the biggest innings for the Boston Red Sox as they went on to defeat the Dodgers in 5 games last season. So Kelly has World Series experience, and he knows how to bring the heat when under pressure. This season, Kelly has had his ups and downs. To begin the season, Kelly was not liked by many Dodger fans due to his struggles, which cost the team wins. As the season has gone on, Kelly has locked in. In June, Kelly had an ERA of 1.00. Kelly has combined for an ERA of 2.85 in July and August. Kelly has shown what he’s made of in the World Series, last season, and he should be given an opportunity to show what he’s made of this season as well.

Who would you like to see pick up some save opportunities in September?

Written by Levon Satamian

My name is Levon Satamian. I am currently attending Cal State Northridge, and majoring in Broadcast Journalism.

27 Comments

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  1. Joe Kelly is the only name to consider.
    Kenley Jansen isn’t able to take the heat anymore, for whatever reason.
    In years past Jansen could allow a hit in an inning awhile closing. He would usually somehow get the save, while striking out players or pulling rabbits out of his hat. He was largely successful, not perfect , but ultimately successful.
    Those days are gone.

  2. Garcia is too homer prone. Urias probably can’t work two days in a row. Maeda (I know guys will disagree) should be the fourth starter as he is the only option who can possibly give us six innings and save the bullpen. I love Sadler as a set up but doubt he has closer’s stuff, particularly in strike outs. But I’m all in on either Kelly or Baez getting some opportunities.

  3. The logic for using Jansen is flawed.
    Regardless of where they use him he will be hit hard. Runs matter, period.
    “He’s been working on it” …. all year.

  4. CLOSER BY COMMITTEE is the only way to make this work going forward! Situations will dictate who should come into close out the remaining games. It is obvious that Roberts DOES NOT know how to handle pitchers, so let’s make it simple for him. I don’t care if it takes 3 guys (1 out each) to finish the game, we need to ensure all the hard work for the day is not washed away by a bad (ego driver) mood of the manager.

    • As a hard-core baseball fan for 75 plus years, I have seen them all and I do not believe I have ever seen such a poor handler of pitchers as Dave Roberts. No clue or no guts, take your pick. The only question I have is whether the stupid decisions come from Roberts or Friedman.

      .

      • carl holloway, If that’s your opinion, I doubt you’ve been a baseball fan for 75 years. It’s more likely that you’re in middle school and new to the game. Yes, Roberts is so bad at handling a pitching staff that that Dodgers have consistently led the league in ERA under his guidance. The only thing you know about managing a baseball team is you couldn’t do it. As for Dodger managers, he’s the best I’ve seen in 50-plus years following the team. Are you sure there isn’t another reason you don’t like Doc? I’m more than a little suspicious.

        • Wow. You criticize a manager, justifiably so, for how he handles his pitching staff and it becomes a racism issue. Really? Roberts is a better manager than Walter Alston? Tommy Lasorda? Are you serious?

  5. There’s only 2 and that’s Kelly and Baez. I think it should be both depending on rest or who’s been used that game because I don’t trust either to get it done regularly

  6. Agree with the majority here, I would definitely add Baez to the mix he has worked hard to add that change of speed pitch and got critical outs with it last night. When I guy throws 97-98 and then comes back with an 86mph strike it blows the hitter’s timing up.
    Kelly has done the same with his 86-88 mph change of speed pitches. The 98 mph pitch with wicked late movement on the inside the other day was one of the most filthy pitches I have ever seen.
    I like Sadler as he throws strikes and has a good pitch mix and velocity. I am a Yimi Garcia fan although he has to figure out how to stop giving up so many HR’s. But as this article states Yimi has turned the corner.
    I like the idea of a mix for closer I think with analytics the Dodgers have all the information they need to figure out who is hot and can best get the hitters coming up out. I truly believe the Dodgers will never win the WS with Roberts as the Mgr because he is clueless with his decisions on pitching changes. Roberts lost at least one game for the Dodgers in each of the last WS losses. He is so focused on being the players’ Friend rather than Mgr he cannot get rosters or pitching changes right. Barnes should have been benched halfway through the season. Instead of messing around with Negron, White and Gyoroko they should have brought up Lux for a trial. IF this team is going to use the Farm and not get into bidding wars for top free agents then use the Farm…

    • Tmaxster was not ready to come up, and the reason why we used Negron, White, and Gyooko is because OUR WHOLE FUCKIN BENCH WAS ON THE INJURY IL YOU ASS!!!! ALSO I HOPE WE NEVER WIN A WS BECAUSE YOU DON’T DESERVE IT.

      • Well, I am not sure Yimi should even be on the PS roster and it’s in part what ya just posted about 4 HR’s in 14 innings. I could have won big time $$$ in Vegas by having called it on many occasions that Yimi would serve one up.

    • Tmaxter, I tend to agree with your point on Dodgers not winning a Ws as long as Roberts is Mgr, and it’s for reasons about being clueless on how to manage the pitching staff. I believe most here who have watched these games as I have can see that. But it also goes with how he handles and shuffles the lineups DAILY because of the hand the opposing pitcher throws with. Look at yesterday’s game with AZ throwing a LHP at us. IMHO, in order for a team to be more successful in the PS it must have a lineup basically with guys who hit both hands of a pitcher reasonably well.

  7. From what I have seen of Yimi this season, I would only use him if we are up by half a dozen runs. He is giving up home runs at too high a rate, and you cannot do that against elite teams. Sadler has been very good; Kelly has made rapid strides in his improvement; Urias is steady, dependable; Baez showed he can be counted on when it counts – like Sunday’s game; Maeda must be in the BP as his stamina is not that great, and he has shown he can handle the BP role well. Go Blue!!!!!

    • Happy Labor Day BLUE LOU from myself and PD Jr. !!!!!!!!!! concur completely with your post here. Ymi is not PS material, case close on that. But the real issue is how they will use Kenley after all is said and done.

      • AZUL, your last sentence in the above post is spot on : what happens to Kenley not only in the playoffs, but after the season ends. I still feel that our SP need to improve dramatically for us to go far in post season play : Kersh is giving up too many dingers, and Buehler’s performances are like night and day on occasion. Last night was not a good outing at all!!! Go Blue!!! Go PD Jr.!!!!!

        • Giving up home runs is not a particular problem with this pitching staff. The Dodgers are in the bottom five in baseball in home runs surrendered, just as they’ve been all season long. Perhaps you have heard about this being a HR-heavy year. Btw, the Dodgers have hit 83 more HR than they’ve given up. That is the second-best differential behind Minnesota’s plus-101. Another interesting stat: the Dodgers have drawn the most walks in MLB (543) while giving up the fewest (321). That is plus-222 baserunners from free passes, or 1.6 per game. Giving up the fewest walks is critical as the HRs given up tend to be with the bases empty (they also lead MLB in WHIP and strikeouts-to-walks ratio)). Other teams wish they had the Dodgers’ pitching problems. Some fans need to start paying attention to what other teams are doing. As for Buehler, he gave up zero runs in his previous two starts. All pitchers have occasional rough outings. Especially in this era where hitters are exhibiting more power than ever before. Top to bottom, I wouldn’t trade this pitching staff for any other in baseball. Check the Astros’ roster. Just one lefty pitcher of any value (starter Wade Miley).

  8. I think the following (I’m just a civilian): BP by Committee. Play the hot hand. Kenley’s mentally/emotionally exhausted (btwn the ears; check out his haunted eyes). Kelly and Baez first in line. As far as Maeda, a lot depends on Hill’s return, One of them starts; the other in the BP. I don’t rust Garcia; it’s not his stuff, it’s his head.

    • Haunted eyes? How asinine. Kenley Jansen is the toughest guy on the team. Through hard work and smarts, he has risen to the very top of his profession. He began his professional career as a catcher, then switched and became one of the best closers of his generation. He is also the best relief pitcher the Dodgers have ever had (no Eric Gagne-styled cheating by this guy). Kenley Jansen has accomplished more at age 31 than anyone on this board will accomplish in their entire life. You’re right about one thing, though. You’re just a civilian…and someone who doesn’t understand or appreciate the work ethic and intestinal fortitude of world-class professional athletes. Between the ears? Try looking in the mirror.

  9. Russell Martin. Check his ERA. Throws too slow and batters overswing at his slow stuff.
    Ex: Randy Jones of the Padres years ago.

  10. Lots of knee-jerk reactions by the non-experts on this blog and board. Thankfully, the team’s management doesn’t use any of your advice when making personnel decisions. Don’t you people ever get tired of being proven wrong? The same people who wanted Joe Kelly DFA’ed in May now want him installed as closer. And the same people who now hold Gavin Lux in such regard wanted him dealt for a one-inning pitcher just a month ago. You folks are hysterical. Trade the kids for Kluber or Realmuto and sign Bryce Harper, because the team will never replace the “lost production” of Grandal, Puig and Kemp. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have led the league in every meaningful offensive category for the entire season.

    • The 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox are happy the Dodgers’ team management doesn’t use any of the advise from the fans when making personnel decisions. I imagine the 2019 Braves, Cubs, Astros or Yankees will feel the same way too.

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