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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Promises to Rethink Kenley Jansen’s Role Going Forward



At this point, it’s becoming almost like a copy/paste script. The Dodgers get a lead, head to the 9th inning up a few, and call on Kenley Jansen. The closer then maybe gets an out, maybe allows a walk, or serves up a hit and proceeds to toss 25-35 frustrating pitches while coughing up most or all of the lead.

On Wednesday night, Jansen entered the 9th with a 3 run lead and was set to face the bottom of the order… And he plainly couldn’t get the job done. After allowing a pair of runs on 3 hits and a walk, Dave Roberts made the uncomfortable march out to the mound to pull his closer.

Perhaps former closer…

After the game, Roberts was asked about the future of the 9th inning role for the Dodgers.

I’m going to keep thinking through it. … It was just a lot for him — 30 pitches to get 2 outs… I know that he’s disappointed as well. But I’ll keep thinking through it.

Of course, Dave has had many opportunities to think through it. And I’ll pause here to say that I wish nothing more than an effective Kenley Jansen keeping his job and leading his team to a title. But only if he can get it done. As one frustrated fan said on Twitter, if he can’t be reliable with a 3 run lead, he cannot be our closer anymore. It’s simple.

Jansen is a Dodger legend, no one will take that away from him. But after 32 years of failing to bring home a championship — the last few seasons peppered with Kenley failings in the 9th — it may be time to really put the needs of the team and fanbase in front of the ego of one player.

At some point, you need to accept the results you see with your eyes.

NEXT: Tempers Flare in Game 2 of the NLDS

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Ya think? Most of us KNEW it was time to re-tthink this closer issue as fsr as Jansen is concerned for quite a while now. And if tonight’s 9th inning performance by Kenley HAS to be the clincher. I didn’t see one pitch he threw get past 90 MPH. And Kelly didn’t look that much better either.if not for Bellinger, this series would be tied.

    • I wrote and posted the following to another writers article but it bears repeating.

      Dave Roberts is an analytics, by the numbers guy and a paid nursemaid to sooth bruised pitchers feelings. He has no clue on how to pull the levers of team management. He has consistently been handed the most talented team in the National League, yet has failed in the big moments more than he has succeeded. Sure he has five division titles, but that has been in the weakest division until this year the Padres have risen to offer some competition and appear to be on track to be a worthy opponent going forward.

      He also can claim two NL Championship titles, but no big prize to follow them, though he may be able to claim being the victim of a theft of that prize in 2017. Even in the face of that, he seems to just want to smile and not upset his friend and neighbor AJ Hinch. He’s just such a nice guy.

      I don’t blame Kenley, he after all is doing his best. But everyone fades with time and all records can and are usually surpassed. If not, Randy Johnson would still be pitching somewhere. It’s Roberts job to recognize that before it is a liability to the team he leads. A nice guy has no place in that role. Leo Durocher was paraphrased to mean, “nice guys finish last.” Dave Roberts may not be finishing last, but he’s not first either.

  2. If Jansen closes another game in this postseason, and the Dodgers fail to win the world series because of it….FIRE DAVE ROBERTS. Roberts is not only failing to see the light, he is actively hiding from it. ENOUGH!!!

    This Dodger team is capable of running the table. But it’s hard to run if you keep shooting yourself in the foot.

  3. Really? It took you this long to realize that Jansen is not who he used to be!!! You been living in the past, holding on to what he used to be and he’s not going to get there anymore. God forbid you cost us another World Series!!!!

  4. I screamed an obscenity and almost threw a bottle at the tv when he came in. Kenley has had a great career, but it is time to ride off into the sunset. They should have used someone else after Treinen and saved Graterol to lock it down. He needs to be the closer.

  5. Jansen is done as a closer and should only be used as a mop up pitcher. Every time he pitches never a 1, 2, 3 inning always a walk a hit and runs. We were lucky last night. Looking at Jansen in dugout, he knows he is done being a closer and almost cost us a playoff game.

  6. Ya Think!! He has lost his velocity and when he Tries to overthrow his cutter it flattens out. Watch the game and his pitches! This was against the bottom of the lineup!
    Roberts is the worst at in game pitching decisions and again almost lost the game for us as he has the last several playoffs. Fire Roberts!
    Amazing route and catch by Bellinger!

  7. Dave Roberts should have been fired back in 2017 his bad karma for the Dodgers, Jansen your pitching days are over.

  8. It’s all on DR to make those pitching decisions, at which he’s not very good. Could have brought in Kelly in 8th(I say he pitched OK-batters fouled off many good pitches), then Graterol to close it out. Or used Brusdar earlier and have Treinen finish. As mentioned before, are these moves coming from the field or front office?
    All that aside, scoring runs and more runs will be the essential element throughout
    the postseason.

    • Kelly is a mess and almost always makes it harder than it should be. Not defending Jansen and not criticizing Graterol, but Tatis crushed that ball and it was a few inches from being a two run homer. And if, I remember correctly, two of the three outs in the 8th were hit pretty hard. Graterol doesn’t strikeout many considering he throws 100. The bullpen is very good, but not sure who the best replacement would be.

      • I’d go with Treinen. Graterol looked lights out early on but lately has been leaving too many pitches over the plate it hasn’t cost him too much but will at some point if it continues. Bellinger saved the game. Graterol needs some time as a 7th and 8th guy first

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