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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Hesitant to Give Other Guys Save Opportunities With Kenley Jansen Rested

Even after Corey Knebel’s great outing, Doc isn’t ready to give others a prominent 9th inning role.



Sunday was a great day all-around for the Dodgers. Julio Urias pitched a gem, Will Smith crushed a ball, and fans got a good look at Corey Knebel. He came in and completely shut down the Rockies in the 9th inning to lock down the save. 

It was Knebel’s second appearance of the year, but the first time he was awarded a save opportunity. His dominance over Rockies hitters had fans wondering if this was a guy that could get more save opportunities for the Dodgers this year. 

Dave Roberts sort of crushed those hopes and dreams in his postgame presser. Doc said that while he could see a number of guys locking down saves for them, that would only happen on days when Kenley Jansen isn’t available. 

You know there are a few guys that I see taking down saves. And I think that when Kenley is down, to feel that you can trust some other guys in the bullpen to finish a game, I think that’s really important. But yeah, he’s in the mix. 

It’s safe to say that Dodgers fans have generally become wary with Kenley Jansen closing games. He’s blown 14 saves over the last 3 seasons, and an additional 3 during the postseason over that timespan. Regardless, Doc is sticking with his guy to start the year.

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The good news for Dodgers fans is that Kenley looked great in his first save opportunity of the year. The velocity appeared to be at a good place and the cut on his fastball was right where it needs to be. Being able to sustain that all the way into October is the next hurdle. 

Another way to look at it is that the Dodgers do have Knebel if things head south. They also have guys like Blake Treinen and Victor Gonzalez to lock down saves if needed. The best-case scenario is them getting away from the traditional closer role, but they have not shown a willingness to do so in recent history. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. It’s a little early in the season to be worrying about this. What say we revisit it in August or so. Or even July. Right now it;s like looking at a brand new building and saying “it’s gonna need a new roof someday.” We need to get over the “60 game sprint” mindset from last year. Otherwise we will drive each other crazy over the next six months.

  2. this article is about dave robert’s concept of who should be on the field. i’d hate to see roberts in control of the pirates. his idea of a lineup card is the worst. why are mookie, seager, bellinger or any of the best starters taking a rest day 3 or 4 days into the season?? anything can happen in coors field and usually does. bauer can attest to that. mookie and turner sat saturday. seager and bellinger sat sunday. that’s nuts. these guys are pros in top shape. roberts pulled urias with 79 pitches. that’s also nuts. you get my point. quit tinkering dave.

  3. 6 games down – 156 to go. Plenty of time ahead. The MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint. We are so lucky to be part of The Dodger Nation. This year will be special!

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