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When it's closing time, lights are getting a tad bright for Dodgers

May 14, 2011 |  7:27 am

Ll60d7nc What a mess. I mean the bullpen, not the entire team. Particularly the end of the bullpen.

Really, who will be the Dodgers’ closer Saturday after what transpired Friday night?

Mike MacDougal, come on down?

Hey, somebody has to pop out of the bullpen if the Dodgers have a narrow lead in the ninth inning.

We know it won’t be last year’s closers, Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo, both now on the disabled list.

It won’t be substitute closer Vicente Padilla, who threw 32 pitches Friday and almost blew the game.

I suppose it could be Friday’s ultimate closer, Kenley Jansen, since he threw only four pitches. All fastballs in striking out Melvin Mora.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly was blunt about who his closer would be Saturday: "I don’t know."

It’s not like he’s picking from a wealth of terrific choices. It’s a continuing theme, and it’s not too pretty.

Broxton (5.68 ERA, 1.89 WHIP) and Kuo (11.57, 2.36) were both struggling before going on the DL. Padilla is coming off spring arm surgery. Mattingly said he took him out of Friday’s 4-3 victory not because he’d given up a pair of ninth-inning runs and had two on, but simply because he’d reached his pitch limit.

The Dodgers have about reached their limit in the ninth. It’s the one inning that’s been killing them all season. Of the 168 runs scored against the Dodgers thus far, 36 have come in the ninth. That’s 12 more than the next closest inning.

It’s currently closer by committee, but not exactly an impressive one. They’d ask for volunteers, but imagine their fright at some of the hands that might go up. Mattingly said Padilla remains his closer, but I remain skeptical.

It’s a mess, and could be for some time.

--  Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Aaron Miles can't reach a ball hit for a single by Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young during the third inning of a game Friday in L.A. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / AP