Bullpen Report: Padilla still the closer 

June, 2, 2011
Whether we care to accept it or not, it sure looks like Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is going to entrust his team's closer role to right-hander Vicente Padilla, provided said right-hander comes off the disabled list Friday and can be somewhat effective. Padilla actually was pitching well before forearm soreness sidetracked him. He had allowed runs in two of his past three outings, but perhaps the soreness contributed. Before that, he had allowed just two baserunners, both walks, in his past four outings (totaling four innings).

[+] EnlargeVicente Padilla
Chris Williams/Icon SMIVicente Padilla's career numbers don't exactly give us the "warm and fuzzies," but if he remains the Dodgers' closer, he has value.
Granted, Mattingly isn't blessed with many choices. Unproven right-hander Javy Guerra was blessed with the beleaguered team's last save opportunity, but that was more than a week ago. Matt Guerrier and Rubby De La Rosa hurled in the late innings of close games after that, with Guerrier losing and De La Rosa winning, but I think Padilla will vault each of them. Guerrier is more accustomed to setup duties, and De La Rosa has pitched multiple innings his past two times out, perhaps a harbinger of an eventual starting role. Guerra has done nothing wrong, but the fact that he followed up his save by being summoned in a tie game in the eighth inning -- before Guerrier -- leads me to believe that's the hierarchy. Mattingly has mentioned trusting one pitcher in the closing role, and I think it's Padilla.

Padilla's last outing kind of tainted his ERA and WHIP a bit, when he walked a pair of Arizona Diamondbacks and had to be rescued by right-hander Kenley Jansen for the one-out save. I think Jansen would be closing if he weren't on the DL himself because of shoulder woes. Look at the kid's strikeout rate! I'd roster Padilla in advance of his activation from the DL, and in deep leagues I'd try to keep Jansen around, because this could be his job long-term. As for Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo, well, Broxton probably lacks any sense of confidence right now, and Kuo lacks any sense of health. I'm giving up on them for 2011.