Don Mattingly believes. Or maybe it’s just that he believes it’s best that he believes. Either way, the end result is the same: for now he’s sticking with struggling Javy Guerra as his closer.
Mattingly admitted to concern over Guerra’s last three appearances, saying he was without his “swag” and had met with him before Sunday’s game against the Nationals.
Yet despite having hard-throwing Kenley Jansen, Mattingly said he’s sticking with Guerra.
“My biggest concern with Javy [Saturday] night was no swag,” Mattingly said. “Honestly, that was my biggest concern. It’s never his stuff. It was like the lack of the bounce in the step and the confidence and commitment. Just like, ‘I’m getting you out and I know it.’ That’s what scared me [Saturday] night.
“So we talked about it today. Now we move forward. I make decisions on what’s best for the club over the course of 162 games. Right now, I feel like we’re causing havoc by doing that [switch].
“I understand the clamoring and what people say I should do, but at this point I don’t feel like it’s the right thing.”
Mattingly said when he was coaching the Yankees and Mariano Rivera would struggle, it would normally come in twos, and is hopeful this is just a bad wave for Guerra to ride out. Plus, he is concerned about a domino effect should he remove Guerra as the closer.
“Obviously you’re always looking at things and talking about stuff but as I think through it, early on Kenley is giving up homers and we’re like, ‘Ah, that’s a great move. He did the right thing,’ ” he said. “Then Javy has a couple of bad days and it’s like, ‘Oh, we have to make a change.’
“I kind of look at as, 21 games in and what’s the alternative and what happens if you make a change and it doesn’t work out? Do we drop it in Mac’s lap [Mike MacDougal] or do we go to [Josh] Lindblom? Then you just kind of go down the list and keep trying guys? Is it a tryout camp at that point?
“I’ve got guys that are hitting and guys who aren’t hitting. I’m 21 games in and I’m not panicking on any level with anybody. Dee’s struggled a little bit. Am I going to hit the panic button? Am I concerned about Dee? Yeah, but I know at this point we’re 15-6 and we’re playing pretty good and I’m not willing to just throw all our plans out the window.”