During a rare Wednesday day game at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers played a marathon, 14-inning game and eventually lost 8-5 against the Washington Nationals.
Heading into the eighth inning with a 2-0 lead thanks to a Justin Turner home run, the Dodgers turned to Brian Wilson to hold the lead. He got two outs before giving way to closer Kenley Jansen, who was brought in for a four-out save. Jansen finished the eighth, but came out in the ninth and gave up three runs to blow the save and the lead. The offense would tie the game in the bottom half and the game went on.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, Dodger manager Don Mattingly was skeptical of bringing in Jansen for the extended save, but had a reason to do it:
We don’t want to do it a lot, but obviously you see it in the playoffs, and this is that time of year,” Mattingly said. “You try to protect guys all season long, but as you get to this point of the year, you’re trying to win every game.”
Jansen had pitched the ninth inning the night before, closing out Clayton Kershaw’s MLB-leading 17th victory. Jansen had been perfect in his limited opportunities for a four-out save; however, he ultimately fell victim to what has become a tough spot for most closers. It was Jansen’s fifth blown save of the year and first since July 30.
For Mattingly, he felt the need to go to Jansen with Brian Wilson up to 20 pitches in the inning and struggling a bit with command. Wilson has had trouble all season and has yet to show the stuff he showed when he joined the team last August. His struggles have led Mattingly to mix and match in the seventh and eighth innings with Jansen being the only guarantee in the ninth.
The Dodgers will need their bullpen to step up over the final month and become a strength before the postseason.
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