Can the Dodgers’ Brandon League work his way back into your hearts?

Brandon League
Dodgers reliever Brandon League delivers a pitch during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this month.
(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

Sorry to break it to you, but you may have to back off a tad on those Brandon League jeers. He’s been such a favorite whipping boy the two seasons, this could prove tough. But once Juan Uribe’s name brought catcalls, and just look how you love him now.

League, of course, has been what you might call a disappointment since he put together that amazing September in 2012 (2-0, six saves, 0.55 earned-run average, 0.92 WHIP) and neatly parlayed that into a three-year, $22-million deal to be their closer.

He lasted in that role about two months before he was replaced by Kenley Jansen, a mess of control problems and the final owner of a 2013 ERA of 5.30 and a 1.55 WHIP. Then he started 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA this season.

The mere sight of the bullpen doors opening, League emerging and his named announced brought instant boos. And with the bullpen seemingly loaded, you had to wonder if the Dodgers would seriously consider eating the bulk of the remaining $17 million he’s still owed.


Only look who hasn’t allowed a run in his last five outings. In those 7 1/3 innings, he has allowed four hits, a walk and struck out five.

A right-hander who has looked completely unreliable for almost the past year is seemingly again finding a consistent groove. Anyway, he appears a lot closer than he’s been in some time. He has lowered his ERA to a respectable 2.84.

Each of his last five appearances came in a game the Dodgers were losing, but with Brian Wilson struggling, if League continues to pitch well he could find his role changed yet again. He is building something approaching trust again.

So maybe the automatic boo reflex might have to be shelved for now.


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