Mattingly’s Early Conundrum

It’s gotten to the point that the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have to make a decision on what to do with Jonathan Broxton and that decision has to be to remove him from the closer’s role.

They can’t go on like this. Tonight Broxton entered a tie game against the Cubs in the top of the ninth inning, got the first out, then walked Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena before getting yanked mid-inning.

Blake Hawksworth allowed a single and a double to let 3 runs score and the Dodgers lost 4-1.

It’s a mystery how the Dodgers have hovered around .500 this year with the lack of offense, shakiness of the bullpen, injuries and off-field nightmare stemming from the Frank McCourt foray through multiple aspects of our country’s legal system.

But they’re still 15-16 and have the talent to contend in the parity-laden National League.

Their talent isn’t such that they can afford to lose games because of a faltering closer. There’s loyalty and there’s enough’s enough.

It’s about the time where enough’s enough.

I’m not about to try and diagnose what Broxton’s problem is—location; diminished fastball; loss of confidence; some undiagnosed, non-admitted injury. It comes down to performance and this has been going on for more than a year now; he’s no longer worthy of being the closer.

It’s hard to entrust a rookie manager with handling a closer-by-committee, but that’s where the Dodgers are right now. The more games they lose early in the season because of Broxton, the less of a chance they have to be contending late in the season.

They have options.

Mattingly has shown the courage to think outside-the-box in his managing as he used Vicente Padilla to close last week (he responded with a 1-2-3 inning in getting the save); and veteran journeyman Mike MacDougal has been effective so far this season.

He also has Hong-Chih Kuo with his blazing left-handed stuff.

Something has to be done. Soon.

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  1. #1 by Jeff on May 4, 2011 - 3:09 pm

    I’m sure Gagne’s still interested in the job… HA! Problem is, not enough JUICE in the world to make that guy creditable again.

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