No Guerrantees

I would imagine after his latest blown save Sunday – leading to the Dodgers sixth loss in the ninth inning or later in their past 18 games – Javy Guerra might be moved to pitch in different game situations for the time being, with Josh Lindblom and Kenley Jansen pitching later in games.

That won’t necessarily help the Dodgers until Guerra solves what’s not working for him, regardless of when he’s pitching, but I can understand why it feels worth a try. What Guerra is capable of achieving hasn’t changed, but his ability to execute has gone at least temporarily awry. The downside is that the best time for on-the-job problem-solving is when the team is losing by a few runs, and no one wants to see that.

One thing to keep in mind about Guerra is that he has options remaning, so that if he doesn’t sort things out soon and the Dodgers decide to make a move to Shawn Tolleson or activate Matt Guerrier, Guerra could be the one that comes off the active roster. That’s not necessarily what should or would happen, but it is an alternative to releasing a veteran. And patience with the bullpen must be wearing thin. Remember, about a year ago at this time, Kenley Jansen briefly went to the minors.

Meanwhile, Justin Sellers should be with the Dodgers for tonight’s game against San Francisco following Jerry Hairston Jr.’s unfortunate hamstring injury, which has left the Dodgers with Dee Gordon (below) and Adam Kennedy as their only two fully healthy left-side infielders. A couple of weeks ago, the Dodgers lost on a Sunday at Houston, 12-0, but this most recent Sunday defeat was more painful.

Photo of Dee Gordon © Todd Coffey/Los Angeles Dodgers 2012

Photo of Ted Lilly © Dee Gordon/Los Angeles Dodgers 2012

  • Anonymous

    Almost a smile out of Ted.

    • foul tip

       I thought he looked a little like a kid caught doing something he shouldn’t by a schoolteacher.  ;-])

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I think that Donnie’s unusual visit to the mound in the midst of Javy’s appearance suggested that any failure on his part would not be taken lightly by the staff.

  • Anonymous

    I like that picture of Lilly….  He kinda reminds me of a young Bill Murray…

  • T.M. Brown

    Very non-sequitur but Fan Graphs did a ballot for the TV commentator rankings and (surprise) Vinny came in first (tied with the Mets home team with Keith Hernandez, yikes). The video they posted had me smiling the entire time: 

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20005809&source=MLB

    Why aren’t players (and commentators for that matter) even close to this charismatic anymore?

    • T.M. Brown

      Also, the relationship between Vin and Sandy is obviously genuine, it’s unfortunate that the separation between the players and the announcers, our only true conduit to things that happen on the field when we can’t show up at the stadium, has grown so much in the past few decades. 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      What I notice from the video clip:
      1. There are reporters who show up in the background who are wearing hats with their press credentials clipped to them.
      2. Koufax said that Alston was planning on going left-right-left with pitchers and that Perranoski would be the last man. Interesting that Alston’s worst case scenario involved just three pitchers. The Twins started two left-handed hitters in the game, Tony Oliva and Don Mincher. (Jim Kaat also batted lefty, but that was not an issue) Oliva was going to start no matter what. And the Twins didn’t have many other solutions to Mincher playing first. Killebrew could have shifted over to first, but then they would have a had a worse hitter at third in Rich Rollins.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to ask a question that’s relevant to yesterday’s tragic game (the game that did not want to start, and did not want to end).  Why is it mandated that relievers only pitch one inning?  When the team is ahead by one run, you want to do everything to prevent the other team from scoring, such as making defensive replacements on the field.  When you see that a Lindblom or a Jansen is effective, why not leave him in for a second inning (even letting him bat), rather than pull him in favor of another reliever who might not be effective?  Note that this is what the Cubs did with Russell and Dolis, and you can see who won the game.
    .
    The strategy is very different when you’re one run behind, when you need to do everything to score, including pinch hitting for the pitcher.  But we weren’t behind yesterday, until the game ended.
    .
    It’s very clear what the biggest problem with the Dodgers is right now.  It’s the bullpen.  The best you can do is to avoid relying on the guys you can’t rely on.  I don’t think we did that sufficiently yesterday.

    • Eric Bergman

      I’d say the biggest problem is the offense, with the bullpen in close second. But the bullpen is much easier fix. 

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       It shouldn’t be mandated that relief pitchers only pitch one inning. That’s part of the problem with the closer mentality.

    • foul tip

       I’ve often wondered the same thing about relievers and multiple innings, especially when their first inning didn’t involve many pitches. Depending on workload, a reliever who throws around 10 pitches in one effective inning may not be available the following day or so.  Plus, there’s that thing about that “one effective” inning, which probably means the reliever is “on” that day.  Why not maximize that?

      Maybe memory fails, but in years past it seems there was more variety in bullpen handling.

      Now, managers seem to fixate on certain bullpen roles–and dare not deviate.  Sometimes they say their pitchers want to know what to expect. I’d think the manager might reply that he expects them to do their best whenever called on, and he’ll manage accordingly.

      Wonder if any managers will dare use their best reliever in high leverage situations, as Jon and others have advocated for some time?  I’ll guess few if any because of the scorn they’d get if it doesn’t work.

      Of course, if it works, particularly more than one time, they’ll be hailed as geniuses for innovation.

    • Anonymous

      I could not agree more.  Part of baseball that has been changed (forever?) by LaRussa and Eckersley.  We just are not likely to see guys used like Sparky Lyle and Rich Gossage anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    Guerra continues to have good stuff…the problem seems to be command within the strike zone, which leads to too many balls catching too much of the plate. So, he’s throwing 95, but he’s not missing bats. I have always believed that the relief pitcher used in the most high leverage position (the so-called “closer”; I agree with Jon that the whole notion of the “closer” is irrational and idiotic) must have a high strikeout rate to reduce the effect of luck. You have to miss bats. Kenley Jansen is thus more naturally suited to this role, whether it’s in the 8th or the 9th. And…Mattingly has to stop painting by the numbers…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Jansen coming on in the 8th and staying through the 9th. Worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

  • Anonymous

    The Dodgers reinstated Ivan de Jesus from the DL and optioned him to AAA.  Funny how we regard him as an aging minor leaguer, while we think of Dee Gordon as a youngster who will only get better with big-league seasoning.  

    They’re the same age.

    • T.M. Brown

      It’s amazing to say but TGJ has actually been “worth more” than Dee has in this young season. He’s right there at the bottom of everyday players in terms of offensive production—that’s tough from a leadoff guy. 

    • Anonymous

      In my opinion, that’s mostly a product of how the organization regards them, and is treating them in terms of opportunity to play at mlb level and how much the team considers them as part of their long term future.

      Besides that, the most notable difference is the significant injury history IDJr has.  That has caused considerable development time lost.  Significant injuries delay development of the player as well as possibly lowering the potential the player due to partial loss of some physical attributes like loss of speed or quickness. 

      Dee is also set apart from IDJ in that he has speed that is kind of crazy off the charts type speed.  IDJr was also seen as being better at second than short even pre-injury.

    • Anonymous

      You make a good point. But, actually De Jesus is a year older than Gordon.
      In answer to the question De Jesus became a pro 3 years before Gordon.

      • Anonymous

        My mistake.  I was looking at their ages on April 30, the day before IDJ turned 25. I still stand by my point, though.  We tend to think of Gordon as this raw young Jose-Reyes-esque talent who will only get better with seasoning.  But he’s already five years older than Bryce Harper.  This may be as good as he gets.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    One more thing…how much rope is Mattingly going to give Dee Gordon as a leadoff hitter? I, for one, would rather have either Ellis there…or just about anybody else other than Juan Uribe or Adam Kennedy. The kid needs to be dropped in the lineup.

  • foul tip

    1) Managed to catch some of the WGN game feed here in TN yesterday and so was able to see the smoke coming out Donnie’s ears as he walked out to chat with Javy. 

    Couldn’t tell what he said once he got there, but based on his obvious anger and apparent disgust and how emphatic he was, it wouldn’t be surprising if Guerra is no longer closer as of yesterday.

    2) Did anyone else here catch the scoring probability chart WGN  featured often yesterday?  Gave scoring probabilities depending on baserunning situations and number of outs.  Some of it you would figure by common sense.  Some of it was a bit more than that.

    May have seen something similar elsewhere.  Broadcasts would be much improved if they used that and similar informative data much more often……instead of things like, every couple innings, “did you know that while I might be a broadcaster now I once managed in the major leagues?” 

    • Anonymous

      >> 2) Did anyone else here catch the scoring probability chart WGN  featured often yesterday?  Gave scoring probabilities depending on baserunning situations and number of outs.
      .
      Yes. I was listening to their radio broadcast team while I was sitting in the stands.  They (Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland) were using that same probability chart to buttress arguments for and against (mostly against) trying to steal third base in various situations.  It was actually a fairly interesting discussion – more interesting than the endless discussion during the rain delay of whether the Cubs should trade their punchless, big-buck veteran outfielder.
      .
      Incidentally, it’s usually called the “run expectancy matrix”, and you can see a version at http://tangotiger.net/re24.html – the one they showed was the second chart on that web page, showing the chance that any runs score.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    The Dodgers weren’t the only team with a disappointing week. They actually moved up a spot in ESPN.com’s power rankings. http://espn.go.com/mlb/powerrankings

    • Anonymous

      Nice to see the Orioles above the Yankees and Red Sox.  Next thing you know, some also-ran will win the Kentucky Derby.

  • Anonymous

    Bet there’s a trade in the works. Only reason I can think of that keep them simply from calling up Sellers or somebody. They’ve had more than enough time to evaluate Uribe and Hairston. I shudder to think what helpless veteran Colletti will give up the farm for….

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      There’s probably not going to be anything until Uribe and Hairston show up at the ballpark this afternoon. If one of them goes on the DL, Sellers will come up.

      • Anonymous

        What are your thoughts about if both do?  Unfortuately, I believe there is a definite possibility of it.

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

           I think they’ve mishandled this Uribe thing.  He’s not good enough to be waiting to see if he “only” needs to sit out a week.  But it makes me think that if Hairston goes on the DL, they’ll just keep waiting on Uribe.

          If both go on the DL, maybe they add someone like Fields to the roster.  Or call Aaron Miles.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks.  I was thinking the same about Uribe since Houston, but the play of Hairston covered for it.  Yesterday was the second time it seemed, despite his statements to the contrary, that Mattingly didn’t have all the part he needed to get through a game.
             
            Can’t imagine what Miles must be thinking based on last year’s performance plus Kennedy’s this year.

          • Anonymous

            I think one thing we may see this year is that guys who aren’t hacking it won’t be allowed to hang around as long as in the past.  My reason for saying so is the quick hook for MacDougal.  It’s still early in the season, but so far Kennedy, Coffey, Wright, and Elbert are not promising. So they may not be around all that much longer.
            .
            Oh, and I think this is a good thing. (Although obviously it would be a better thing if they were performing well and this didn’t have to be considered.)

          • Anonymous

            Wasn’t DeWitt released yesterday?

          • Anonymous

            Yes.  Either yesterday or early this morning.

    • foul tip

      “I shudder to think what helpless veteran Colletti will give up the farm for….”

      Ned is highly unlikely to do anything without Stan Kasten’s blessing.  Which, given their respective track records, is a very good thing.

      Most any baseball executive is going to prefer experienced over not.  I don’t know how traditional Kasten’s views are on this.

      But 14 consecutive Braves division titles says he and his team got calls right more often than not.

      That he is more or less managing general partner in charge of baseball may be the most appealing thing to me about new ownership.

      Edit: in looking at the Braves streak of 14, note following first line in this link–”2005..Using 18 rookies, including 12 making their big-league debut, the Braves pull out their 14th straight division title by two games over Philadelphia”

      http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2583810

      So maybe Kasten will vaccinate the Dodgers against PVL disease. ;-])

      • foul tip

        In 2003, the Braves’ 12th straight division title season, six players hit 20 or more HRs.  Not in Dodger Stadium, of course, but still…when have the Dodgers been anywhere close to that capable offensively?

        Also,  Russ Ortiz won 21 games for them that year.  IIRC, Bob T will be absolutely thrilled with that bit of Ortizian history. 

        • foul tip

           And this tidbit from division title #1 year, 1991–

          “The Braves win the NL West by one game over the Dodgers, becoming the first team in NL history to go from worst to first.”

  • Anonymous

    The one thing I think about with Guerra, is making sure at this point he is put in a position to succeed, and by that I mean that you bring him in in a situation when we are up 3 or 4 runs in any inning you want.  He’s got to be thinking now up by one in the ninth, don’t mess up, don’t mess up, which is not a way to succeed.  In baseball if you think about your pitches too much, you are doomed.  This is another problem with the “closer” role.  If a guy is thinking too much, he’s in trouble.  You don’t want to kill his confidence by “demoting” him, but to keep putting him out in one run games time after time is helping no one.  Put someone else out there, or let Jansen pitch to the first batter and get Guerra an out before he even gets in the game.  What do you guys think?

    • Anonymous

      I think the big concern in deciding who to bring in is winning games, rather than a pitcher’s confidence.  If someone is pitching reliably well (Jansen, Lindblom), those are the guys you bring in when the game is close.  If someone isn’t pitching consistently well (Elbert, Coffee, Wright, Guerra), you try to only use them when you’re 3+ runs ahead or 3+ runs behind.  You hope the guys in the latter group straighten out and become consistent, in which case you can move them to the former group and start bringing them in with the game on the line; otherwise, you think about shipping them out and bringing in someone else.

  • Anonymous

    I have no idea of any of you / us have access to this, but…..
    If you can get a hold of the audio or transcript of yesterday’s Dodger Talk with Kevin Kennedy, he discusses the closer / Guerra situation briefly, succinctly, and in a very informative manner.  :-)

    • Anonymous

       One thing to remember is that we all regard Javy as “a closer” due to (and only due to) the fact that Don Mattingly has used him as “his closer” at times in his brief tenure with as manager…. That’s it.
      ….
      None of us have ever watched his bullpen sessions, (and most of us wouldn’t know how to evaluate one properly even if we saw one) , spoken with his doctors, or have even met the man….
      ….
      To me, he’s a “closer” when he shows that he can consistently go out there and protect a hard-fought Dodger lead in the 9th inning from the mound…. night in and night out, with very few exceptions.
      ….
      Until then, to me…. he’s just another young Dodger arm who I really root for….
      What his exact role ends up being in his career, who knows? … But, I’m hoping for the best for Javy.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

        “To me, he’s a “closer” when he shows that he can consistently go out
        there and protect a hard-fought Dodger lead in the 9th inning from the
        mound…. night in and night out, with very few exceptions.”

        That describes his entire career until three weeks ago.

         

        • Anonymous

           You’re absolutely right, Jon…. I hope he can work out the kinks and re-claim his “mojo” … (to borrow a term from Austin Powers)…  :-)

  • KT

    With Werth’s broken left wrist (3 time) does anyone thing he’ll get back to the form he had in Philly?
     
    I myself don’t think it will happen

  • KT

    I see Mota is on the juice again…Has it really been helping him…I haven’t been following him but he seems very hitable lately

  • KT

    MLB has us in the market for a catcher in 2013…I really don’t see that happening with the way AJ is going about his at bats this year
     
    Does anyone know if he is leading the league in the most pitches seen per at bat?

    • Anonymous

      I think he is leading all of MLB. He is tied for 83 in NP but has 20-40 fewer PA than the players ahead of him. There are players with a better NP/PA ratio but with far fewer PA so I can’t see them qualifying as a leader. AJ has seen 429 pitches in 87 PA. This is all from stats at MLB.com.

      • KT

        thanks Mike

  • Anonymous

    Win now scenario

    AC Ellis
    Loney
    Kemp
    Ethier
    Wright– obtained with Gordon trade
    Abreu
    Ellis
    Sellers

    • Anonymous

       I’d trade Ethier before I’d trade Gordon … IMHO.

      • Anonymous

        While I agree, with the opportunity to acquire David Wright, I’d move either.

      • Anonymous

        Given his pending free agency, Ethier is not tradeable. The Mets would have no incentive to move one pending free agent for another.

        • Anonymous

          I believe Ethier is worth signing longer term.  If that can be done, I would indeed be willing to move Gordon for Wright if he would negotiate a deal keeping him with the Dodgers past this season.

          • Anonymous

            What would you offer Ethier?

      • Anonymous

        No way. Ethier is a proven commodity. Gordon is still a work in progress who will never be a gold glove or a silver slugger.  Speed is nice, but easy to find. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s a 100-game suspension for Mota, which could effectively end his career.

    • Anonymous

      could goes a long way in that sentence, makes me think of “but aren’t we all”

  • Anonymous

    Is it reasonable to assume that Seller and/or Fields are at least in LA for tonight’s game.  I’d hate to think a game time decision that turns negative would force the Dodgers to play short handed tonight.  If the decision turns out positively, he/hey can be sent back to NM for the price of an airline ticket.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Colletti said yesterday that Sellers was ready to fly back to Los Angeles.

      • Anonymous

        Sellars has not even appeared in AAA as yet.

    • Anonymous

      >> Is it reasonable to assume that Seller and/or Fields are at least in LA for tonight’s game.
      .
      Maybe.  But in an emergency, you could ask just about anybody to play any position.  Just like in last night’s Orioles-Red Sox game.

      • Anonymous

        Shades of Jeff Hamilton.

        • Anonymous

          …and Mark Loretta.

  • Anonymous

    Old friend Eric Stults is starting for the White Sox this evening.

    • Anonymous

      His shutout of the Sox in 2008, along with a shutout of the giants in 2009 for the Dodgers, are his career highlights, so far

      • Anonymous

         He got old acquaintance Carlos Santana to pop out in the first.

      • Anonymous

        As I recall, he led the Dodgers in shut outs in both 2008 and 2009.

        • Anonymous

          He only led in 2009, when he pitched the only shutout.  In 2008, Kuroda pitched two, while Stults and Bills each had one.

  • Anonymous

    Anybody know, is everything okay with Tony Jackson?  He seems to have disappeared…

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       ESPNLA is not sending him on most road trips this year.

  • Anonymous

    Lilly looks like he is wearing a dodger bullet proof vest.

  • Anonymous

    And up until he took one of the chin.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Jamey Carroll has a .542 OPS for Minnesota this season.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Welp, looks like Kenly is the new closer according to Mattingly.

  • Anonymous

    I’m still holding out hope that the Dodgers can somehow acquire Andrew McCutcheon …..
    Just a little wish I’ve had for the past few seasons….

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001115617053 Troy Sexton

      Not happening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001115617053 Troy Sexton

    I realize wins/losses aren’t the best way to judge starters, but I feel it’s a fair way to judge relievers.

    Javy Guerra is one lucky SOB… that he isnt
     sitting at a 1-6 record, on pace for 36 losses with 5 months to go in the season.  He’s currently 1-3.   But dodged 3 other losses.

    Guerra got lucky as poo on that triple play vs SD.  He was destined to be the LP in that game.

    He got bailed out on that 2 run 9th at home to Washington.

    He got lucky yesterday.  You know it.  I know it.

    I wish you’d have put these reasonable scenarios in your article, Jon.

    Javy Guerra should be 1-6.  Truly sickening for a reliever 1/6 the way into a season.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I haven’t denied that Guerra has pitched poorly for the past three weeks. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001115617053 Troy Sexton

        You’re the man.  You write goodly.  Just saying I was hoping for a guy with your insite bringing this reasonable observation to the table.   Javy Guerra truly is lucky he isnt leading all of baseball in losses…. as a reliever… (for a team with the 2nd best record in the league, maybe 3rd or 4th best record if you consider those 2 potential losses that probably should have been)       I’m not saying give up on him.  I’m saying put in the 7th with slackjaw in the 8th and Jansen in the 9th… for the time being.

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

           I wouldn’t pitch Guerra in a close game tonight either. My argument all along has simply been that the ninth inning is not so unique that it makes an otherwise good pitcher lousy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001115617053 Troy Sexton

        Maybe I missed it, but I’m looking forward to your day off summaries of the MVP of the Dodgers from #1 to #25+ throughout the season.  Thank You in advance for not being lacksadaisacalalall ala

        • KT

          Jon said he wasn’t going to do Cogs and dogs this year because of the amount of work it entails

  • Anonymous

     Ethier to the Pirates for McCutcheon and an arm….

    • Anonymous

       Utterly unrealistic.

  • Anonymous

    It would take an arm from the dodgers to the pirates in the form of a Lee or Billingsley to get McCutcheon.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    I shall call him “Dandy Andy the Dodger…”  …. :-)