Kenley Jansen and the 9th inning role is the only real question mark for the Dodgers coming into the NLCS. With his performance in Game 2 of the NLDS, fans just want to know what Kenley’s role is moving forward.
Dodgers President of Baseball Operations has probably been asked that question more than anyone over the last week or so. Meeting with media ahead of Monday night’s matchup, Friedman revealed that there were actually some things the team liked about that appearance. Friedman also pointed out that Jansen is working hard to get things corrected ahead of this big series.
Obviously, this has been a popular question and I totally get it. He is working incredibly hard, and think what happened Game 2 happened. But we went back and watched it, and the first 19 pitches were really good and really competitive. And then he made some pitches that were mistakes and things that I think he would say weren’t his best throws. But he’s working incredibly hard, there’s some stuff in the delivery that I know Mark [Prior] and Connor [McGuiness] are keying on.
There were obviously more than a few pitches in that game that Kenley would like to have back. But for the Dodgers to look back and find some positives, it would seem that they aren’t ready to give up on Kenley in the 9th just yet. But as Friedman went on, it seemed more and more as if that closing role is up for discussion.
I think there are really good runs for different relievers. So just how to deploy it and when depends on how certain games play out. But I do expect him to be a big part of helping us win a championship…It’s safe to say that each night, we’re going to do everything we can to put ourselves in the best position to win a game.
This would seemingly be the first time that anyone in management admitted Kenley might not be getting the 9th inning. It should be noted that this wasn’t really a commitment either way by Friedman, but the lack of absolute certainty does open the door for discussion. If the Dodgers did not go with Kenley in the 9th, it would be the first time in a long time.