The Dodgers dropped the second and final game of the series against the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7 in 11 innings. The Rays struck first, going up 1-0 in the 1st inning. LA added 3 runs in the 2nd inning and the back and forth nature of the game went on from there.
By the 9th inning the Dodgers had a 6-4 lead and Kenley Jansen entered the game for the save opportunity. Jansen had been on a recent hot streak, but this marked the first time he would be pitching back to back games since September 1st. Moreover, it was only the 3rd time he’s pitched back to backs since the All-Star break.
Nevertheless, after recording a 4 out save on Tuesday, Kenley was asked to save a 2 run lead on Wednesday.
That lead did not last long.
Jansen took over and — without much help from the home plate umpire — the Rays tied it up on two hits, a walk, and a sac fly. The Dodgers ultimately fell 8-7 in 11 innings and questions once again surfaced about the Dodgers closer.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) September 19, 2019
The most pointed question manager Dave Roberts faced was simple and fair: “What would have to happen for you guys to consider a change [at closer]?”
Right now, I think that the way that he’s been throwing… obviously tonight was a blown save. The command after that first hitter — there was some good throws in there, but with Duffy, not putting him away, and I thought he had Choi punched right there, but I’m not really entertaining that thought right now.
Roberts fairly successfully side stepped the question by praising Jansen’s recent body of work, which is fair for the player’s manager, but these kind of questions will only get tougher come October.
While the 31 year-old closer has appeared dominant over his previous few outings, the reporter did note that he’s still blown 4 of his last 8 save opportunities.
Once again, it could be noted that home plate umpire Adrian Johnson very much missed strike 3 in the Choi at-bat…
Bad call by the Ump. Gonna make Kenley mad. pic.twitter.com/H6Mgwz9odU
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) September 19, 2019
…but that’s just part of the game. Still, Roberts wasn’t a huge fan of the call.
I thought he got squeezed on the Choi pitch — it flipped the inning.
One rough outing shouldn’t take away from the recent body of work that Jansen has… but it doesn’t make it sting any less. Plainly he did not have the same command that he’d had of late and it cost the Dodgers in the long run.