The recent Dodgers-Giants series left a bitter taste in the mouths of a lot of Dodger fans. The team suffered a 3-1 series loss against their division rivals and lost ground in their chase to get back on top.
However, this particular fortune of events was caused internally rather than by the opposing team as closer Kenley Jansen blew back-to-back saves Wednesday and Thursday night. As Jansen exited the field both times he was met with boos from his own fans. His sudden regression back to his 2020 self has caused many to question why he is still in the closer role.
Dave Roberts isn’t ready to give up on Kenley and met that question with an interesting answer. Inserting Blake Treinen into the closer role would ultimately hurt the team’s chances of winning rather than improving them. He mentioned that there’s no one in the pen that would be able to fill the crucial role Blake Treinen plays.
“Where Blake, we’ve used him in leverage – call it the 5th inning, 6th inning, 7th inning. A certain part of the lineup, being a fireman and being able to go one-plus has allowed us to win a lot of ball games.”
Keeping Jansen as the team’s closer allows Doc to freely use Treinen in pivotal game moments. None of that matters if the door can’t be shut late, yet Kenley has been able to do that for the most part his year. Granted the Thursday’s game should have ended with a Dodger win multiple times, he put himself in that situation. However, Roberts doesn’t feel that should mean replacing his closer.
“If you look back at four days ago, he was one of the top two or three closers in baseball and it’s interesting how things change over the course of two games, albeit two games in a row. He and other guys in our pen have picked up a lot of guys this year. I just don’t think that two games causes for me to question a role.”
Jansen did put together an All-Star worthy first half, yet the way the Giants and Padres are playing leaves little room for mistakes. The team desperately needs mad Kenley back if they hope to retake the division lead and make a postseason run. Who knows, maybe this forces Andrew Friedman to make a move for a high leverage arm.