How was your week

Posted: August 11, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

The last thing that any playoff or World Series contender wants to deal at this point of the season is a serious injury to one of their key players. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers this is what they’re going to have to deal with.

Yesterday the Dodgers placed their closer Kenley Jansen on the 10-day disabled list with and irregular heartbeat. Estimates have Jansen out about a month.

Jansen has converted 32 of his 35 save chances this season. He is 0-3 with an ERA of 2.15. His 32 saves ties Jansen with Wade Davis of the Colorado Rockies for the most in the National League.

Jansen was hospitalized after the Dodgers/Rockies game on Thursday, but he was released and allowed to travel from Denver back to Los Angeles; where he will undergo more tests. This isn’t the first time that Jansen has had to deal with an irregular heartbeat. Jansen missed about of month of the season back in 2011 and 2012 when he had this same issue. After the 2012 season Jansen underwent a surgical procedure to attempt to resolve the problem.

While this isn’t the first time Jansen has had to deal with this issue; it’s also not the first time Jansen has had to deal with this issue in Colorado. Jansen’s irregular heartbeatĀ  that occurred back in 2012 also happened while the Dodgers where on a road trip in Colorado. this brings up the question if the thin Mile High air is causing Jansen’s issues.

While first and foremost the most important thing is Jansen heart and his health, but the Dodgers have to continue their road trip in Colorado and they’ll have to do so without one of the best closers in baseball.

With Jansen not at the end of the game on Thursday it was Scott Alexander who ailed down the save in a Dodgers 8-5 win in Colorado. It was Alexander’s 2nd save of the season. There was no save opportunity last night for the Dodgers as they dropped a 5-4 game to the Rockies. Zac Rosscup gave up a couple of runs in the 6th innings and took the loss, but both Dylan Floro and John Axford had scoreless outings in the game.

The question now is who will the Dodgers use to close games? Will they try to use the closer by committee? Or will Alexander get a shot at the job? There are some other options in the Dodgers bullpen, but the only one with full time closing experience is Axford. Caleb Ferguson and Josh Fields each have 2 saves this season, but Ferguson has picked up his saves by pitching more than 3 innings in a game and Fields just start a 6 week rehab program as he recovers from shoulder inflammation. Floro has been a big plus for the Dodgers bullpen as a set up man as he is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.93 in 13 games; so he could be an options, but he’s never been a closer.

Of course there s a chance that the Dodgers could find a closer on the trade market; if that player has made it through or can get through waivers, but who could they go get.

Since Fernando Rodney was just traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Oakland A’s yesterday; he’s off the Dodgers list. I’m guessing if the Dodgers had their choice they’d try to land Raisel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds. Iglesias is 28 years old and has converted 22 of his 25 save chances this season. He is 1-1 with an ERA of 2.52 in 46 games this season. The other closer available would probably be Shane Greene of the Detroit Tigers. Greene has converted 24 of his 27 saves chances this season, but has an ERA of 4.13 while going 2-5 in 49 games. There’s also Kyle Barraclough of the Miami Marlins. Barraclough didn’t start the season as the Marlins and has had some issues at the end of games as he is 0-5 with an ERA of 3.75 in 51 games. Barraclough has also blown 6 of the 16 save chances he’s had this season.

Those look like they could be the top closer on the trade market right now, but I think there might be kind of an off the wall option for the Dodgers. Now bare with me here, but what about the Dodgers using Julio Urias to close out games.

Urias has been recovering from shoulder surgery, but just made his season debut pitching 1 2/3rd innings in the Arizona Rookie League last Saturday. Urias topped out at 94 mph on the radar gun while striking out four of the six batters he faced and giving up a hit. Urias did work another 1 2/3rd last night for Rancho Cucamonga which is the Dodgers High Class-A team. Urias gave up 1 run on 3 hits while walking 1 and striking out 2.

There where plans to call Urias up on September 1st and have him pitch out of the bullpen; so why not do it earlier if he shows that he’s healthy. Now this may not be the best idea and there is a chance that the Dodgers wouldn’t want to have Urias pitch on back to back days like a closer might have to, but with the trade market looking weak at this point of the season it gives them an internal option I’m not sure a lot of people thought they’d have.

The Dodgers are currently tied for 1st place in the National League West with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Oakland A’s have surged into the second wild card spot in the American League as they’ve been one of if not the best team in baseball over the last month of the season. Oakland currently has a 1 1/2 lead over the Seattle Mariners for that second American League wild card spot and it’s a bit of a surprise they’re here.

When you look at Oakland’s starting rotation you wouldn’t think that this is a playoff team as due to injuries they have used 13 different starters this season. While the A’s expected Sean Manaea to be a big part of their rotation this season they also expected Daniel Mengden, Andrew Triggs and Kendall Graveman to be in he rotation. Graveman was the opening day starter, but both he and Mendgen where ineffective and are now in the minors while Triggs is on the 60-day disabled list with a right tricep strain. The A’s have also been without two more of their young starting pitchers Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett. Both pitchers are recovering from Tommy John surgery and aren’t expected back until next season. You can also add Paul Blackburn to that list as he made 6 starts this season before winding up on the disabled list with right elbow epicondylitis. There’s a chance Blackburn could return at the end of this month.

Looking at that list you’d think there’s no way the A’s would be in contention for a playoff spot, but here they are. How did they do it? Well they’ve gotten contribution from some unlikely veteran starters.

Trevor Cahill is 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 13 starts. Edwin Jackson is 3-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 8 starts and while Brett Anderson’s ERA is a little high at 4.64 he’s 2-3 over 9 starts. Frankie Montas has also filled in nicely going 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 10 starts. Oakland has tried to bolster their starting rotation by adding Mike Fiers who’ made one start for them. Fiers pitched 5 1/3rd innings and got a no-decision. He gave up 1 run and 4 hits while striking out 8.

Now to back up what you wouldn’t call a stellar starting rotation the A’s added bullpen arms through the trade market.

Oakland was the team that stepped up and added Jeurys Familia from the New York Mets. When Shawn Kelley had a bit of a meltdown and was designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals it was the A’s that picked him up in a deal. Then yesterday they went out and struck a deal with the Minnesota Twins for Fernando Rodney.

Familia and Rodney where both shutdown closers at points in their careers, but both have experience as set up men while Kelley has always had a big time arm. You add these three veterans to a bullpen that features closer Blake Treinen who has a sub 1 ERA (0.93)and 29 saves plus set up man Lou Trivino who’s 8-1 with an ERA of 1.29 in 46 games with 4 saves and you’ve got a dangerous bullpen come October.

If the A’s find a way to win the wild card game and their starting pitching can keep them in playoff games early; how big of a threat are they in the American League?

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