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?