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Please ask later: Do you believe in Javy Guerra?

August 3, 2011 |  6:23 am

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Javy Guerra (54) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the ninth inning at PETCO Park on Tuesday. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire Joe Block was seriously ticking me off.

"Do you believe in Javy Guerra?"’ he kept asking.

It was Tuesday night on "Dodger Talk," the postgame show he hosts with Josh Suchon on KABC-AM (790).

"Do you believe in Javy Guerra?"

Ugghhhhh! No more. He must have asked a half-dozen times. I was thinking what kind of bodily harm I would have to do to Block at the next homestand. He was driving me nuts because he kept asking a question for which I had no comfortable answer.

Guerra, the unexpected closer, had just shut down the Padres in order Tuesday. Which only left him a perfect nine-for-nine in save opportunities, 2-0 and with a 1.78 ERA.

"Do you believe in Javy Guerra?"’

What's not to believe?

Guerra, 25, had been in the Dodgers' minor-league system for eight seasons when called up May 15 from double-A Chattanooga for the injured Blake Hawksworth. It was supposed to be a brief stay as a middle-inning guy.

But circumstance and injuries to Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Vicente Padilla and Kenley Jansen suddenly brought Guerra opportunity. And then the craziest thing started happening. He kept closing the door. Every time Don Mattingly gave him an opportunity, he responded.

Block also kept mentioning -- I don't know, what do you think? The Tombstone Piledriver or the Flying Clothesline? -- that in six of his nine saves he did not allow a baserunner, that four of them were 1-0 games, that in seven he had to initially face the tying run.

Nothing but great numbers. Yet somehow it's hard to believe in. A little too good to be true? Not sure what else I want. Three strikeout innings? Batters afraid to swing? Blood on the batter's box?

But then I realized, I don't have to figure out if I truly believe in Guerra right now. There are two more months to go, and it's not like they're going to be significant in the standings.

That's a nice, long look at the unexpected closer. By season's end, we'll all have a better idea if he should go into the offseason identified as the closer.

And by then, he figures to have suffered some bruising and the Dodgers can get a better idea how he rebounds from disappointment and exactly where Jansen is at.

So Block can ask all he wants. I ain't going there right now. Though, he should be warned, I do have a mean Flying Clothesline.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Javy Guerra (54) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the ninth inning at PETCO Park on Tuesday. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

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