For the most part, Dodgers fans have it great. Maybe like 99.9% great. A great team with great veterans and talented young budding stars have made LA once again a top team in baseball. But still, for fans, it won’t mean much of anything if Clayton Kershaw and co aren’t hoisting the World Series trophy at the end of October. Likely virtually.
The Dodgers have been close in two of the last three seasons. Each time the club has put much of the burden of success on the arms of Kershaw and closer Kenley Jansen. After an early October exit in 2019, the club went out and reloaded, bringing in some help for a shaky backend of the bullpen.
One key signing was that of former Cy Young contender Blake Treinen. Along with Treinen came the questions, is he here to take over for Kenley Jansen? How long of a leash does Kenley have? Should he be our closer?
After a rough start to September, the outside chatter got awful loud once again.
"I have to stay ready for any and all situations" in the postseason, Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen says on the subject of potentially closing game in October.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) September 22, 2020
As the Kenley questions resurfaced, so did the questions to Treinen who was asked about the potential of picking up innings in the 9th in the postseason. Or even potentially flat out taking Kenley’s job. With that, he had some thoughts in defense of Jansen.
With Kenley, you don’t just luck in to Reliever of the Month like he did to start the season. It’s because he’s having a good year. I mean, he’s had, what, two outings that maybe he isn’t happy about … all the way through we have our ups and downs.
People… I think society in general, we’re all just so focused on the negatives. It’s kind of like we’re addicted to negative attention or negative news and all this stuff right now and just in general, I think ‘outside noise’, people expect you to be perfect. They see maybe salaries attached to performances, but none of us in any job that we do is a hundred percent perfect and talking about competing against the best in the world right here… his stuff plays his stuff’s good. … He’s been doing it for 10 years.
Surely you know the numbers by now. For his career, Kenley Jansen owns 312 saves (24th on MLB’s all-time list). His 2.39 ERA is just a bit above the all-time saves leader, Yankees great Mariano Rivera (2.21, 19 seasons). But the last few campaigns haven’t been as friendly for the Dodgers closer.
Since 2018, the ERA has jumped to 3.35. He’s blown 14 saves after blowing just 26 over the first 8 seasons of his career. As we’ve seen with Kenley, the pressure of it does get to him. He feels the pain of letting his teammates and the fans down. And trust that it’s not because he wants to.
So if Blake Treinen isn’t here to steal the 9th inning from Jansen — something he’s repeated throughout 2020, the wonder is what else could he ofter him?
What can I bring to the table to him? I was a closer for a year and a half, two tops. I can’t really bring a ton of the table. Maybe just like a ‘hey, let’s get our mind off the game a little then just talk about life.’ Kenley’s a good dude. He’s got a level head on his shoulders and he knows how to approach the game or else he wouldn’t have been doing it for as long as he has. I know we’re very blessed to have him and this team doesn’t move forward without him.
Treinen continued his praise of Kenley while reestablishing and important fact.
So the outside noise can say what they want. But you know with all due respect. I mean the people that know the game best are the ones here playing and we’ve been around we’ve seen the ups and downs and I respect fans opinions because they’re the ones that you know, the ones that make this game worth playing and they have the right to have their opinions. But I bet when he closes the World Series, people are going to be saying he’s the greatest closer in Dodger history or whatever. Let’s just throw it out there, he’s one of the greatest of all time.
Seems like these bullpenmates have built up quite the relationship in this short season. And it’s paramount that we note that Blake Treinen is 100% right.