Dodgers @ Astros August 22, 2015: Maybe Get a Hit Tonight

Well, look at it this way: Tonight has to go better than last night. It just has to. (All the more frustrating is that the scouting report on Mike Fiers was dead on and the players just didn’t listen, reports Pedro Moura.)

Dodgers
Astros
4:10 p.m. PT
Houston, Tx.
SS
Rollins
2B
Altuve
RF
Puig
CF
Gomez
3B
Turner
SS
Correa
1B
Gonzalez
3B
Lowrie
LF
Van Slyke
LF
Rasmus
2B
Utley
DH
Gattis
CF
Hernandez
1B
Valbuena
C
Grandal
RF
Marisnick
DH
Guerrero
C
Castro

Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup, anyway, hopefully proving that his sore hamstring is not a big deal, and not proving that he should be on the disabled list resting that sore hamstring. Chase Utley moves from DH to make his second base debut — as expected against lefty Scott Kazmir, Enrique Hernandez moves to center and Joc Pederson takes a seat — and Alex Guerrero becomes the first Dodgers DH to bat ninth since the immortal Mitch Jones did so twice back in 2009. Don Mattingly says that he isn’t considering Andre Ethier or Puig as options in center, with Hernandez around, and it’s difficult to dispute that.

But nearly no matter what happens tonight, short of a blowout on either side, I want to see Kenley Jansen. He’s having arguably the best season of what’s shaping up to be an elite career… and he’s thrown all of 19 pitches since last Friday. That’s partially unfair — there were two off days in that span, of course — but he didn’t appear in either game in Oakland as the bullpen melted down, and he’s thrown just 98 pitches in the entire month of August.

I know that will open the floor to Mattingly-bashing by those who choose to perceive it that way, and I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of the way the bullpen has been managed. But you know as well as I do that an overwhelming majority of the managers in baseball won’t use their closers in non-save situations. Hell, you have pitchers like Huston Street actually saying he’d rather retire than work that way. It’s a stunningly inefficient use of resources when Jim Johnson, J.P. Howell, and Pedro Baez have all thrown more pitches than one of baseball’s top relievers.

I’m not sure when that viewpoint is going to change. Doesn’t seem likely that the Dodgers are going to be the ones leading the charge. Might be that it takes another decade. It’s just frustrating, is all. Jansen is really, really, really good. You should want to use him as often as possible. Because what happens when you don’t — and watch this happen tonight — is that he sits idle for so long that you’re all but forced to “get him some work” in an unnecessary situation, and then he’s not available the next night, or at least not at full strength, when you really need him. It’s not great. But welcome to baseball, 2015, which in some ways still looks like baseball, 1995.

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.