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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Remains Committed to Kenley Jansen

We’re on this again.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 21: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after giving up a solo homerun to Rowdy Tellez #44 of the Toronto Blue Jays, to tie the game 1-1, during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on August 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

On a night where Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen blew his 6th save opportunity of the 2019 season, fans looked for answers on whether the organization would continue to commit to the franchise leader in saves for the foreseeable future. That answer came swiftly from manager Dave Roberts, but not without some wiggle room.

Jansen blew his 6th save of the season on Wednesday night, one shy of his career high set in 2012, his first season as the Dodgers primary closer. His 2019 season ERA now sits at a career-high 3.70, as a lot of question marks surround the 31 year-old.

Moreover, people had a lot of questions for him after Wednesday’s game… but he was unavailable for comment.

However, Doc Roberts did share his thoughts.

I think there are times that he’s guilty of [going with his cutter too many times.] It’s something we’ve talked about with Kenley, and he’s recognized that as well. But I think that competitor in him, where you feel you can make a pitch and execute and not go to a secondary — it’s one of those things you just got to play it out and learn from things.

Roberts also noted that Jansen’s previous 3 outings had been good, but this wouldn’t necessarily be a case similar to the closer’s last blown save, which was followed by a guaranteed follow up outing to get back on track.

As September looms, Jansen remains a very big question mark for the Los Angeles front office.

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.

41 Comments

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  1. Kenley needs to be a 7th or 8th inning set up guy. Days of being a closer have passed him by. Kelly should be the new closer. It may be sad to say, but I trust Baez in a closer’s role more than Jansen.

    • I doubt if Jansen could handle that. He’ll be blow it there as well.
      I do agree, Kelly is a real closer..
      Jansen might work for laugher-game mop up, but he’s going be a high ERA guy wherever he pitches.
      Just like the previous years, the Dodger will NOT win in October if hapless Roberts doesn’t wise up, fast.
      Thanks.

    • Agreed! The Dodgers will not win the series with Roberts as the manager. Roberts does know how to manage the the pitching staff. He blew the last two series with bonehead decisions.

      Also, his stupid reasoning that everyone plays is just that, stupid! This isn’t little league.

  2. Roberts’ comments aren’t valid. They’ve been using pitch selection as an excuse all season! If he refuses to ignore good advice he’s not valuable.
    This is getting ridiculous!!

  3. Forget Jensen he will cost us the world series and Roberts is dumb enough to keep sending him out there

    • Indeed.
      Nice guy Roberts, dumb and stubborn as a mule.
      It’s shocking that at this level we have such bad decision making not only about the awful Jansen, but about day to day basics like lineups, batting orders, and team personnel.
      Here’s another:
      They have incredible Gavin Lux just waiting to come up, yet they trade for walrus .220 hitter, Jedd Gyorko.

  4. Andrew Friedman and the yes man Dave Roberts are the biggest idiots. They are the reason for the problem that the dodgers are currently having with their bullpen.

    • Gabe, as was stated by others, Roberts has no real choices but to play those ‘hands’ he is dealt. He can only work with what the FO has made available to him, sad to say but IIWII.

  5. I commend Roberts loyalty but if that’s his position then the Dodgers will not even make it to the World Series. Dave has to understand that nobody remains elite forever and he has to put the good of the ball club and the fans overv loyalty

  6. No need to be vicious, guys. That said, Jansen, like Kershaw, has lost a yard on his fastball/cutter. Kersh has a wipeout curve and slider to mix in, and as a starter, can work his way out of jams. A closer has to get 3 outs without a mistake. Jansen can no longer do that reliably. Nothing personal. But for the good of the team, Kelly has to take the ninth. Or try May or Goselin…. or a fireballer in their farm system. Use Jansen in a critical situation in the 9th, in the WS, and it’ll be 3 years of humiliation in a row.

  7. to Dave Roberts:

    Insanity:
    Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results.

    • So frustrating to watch. The worst offense was bringing him in for 8th inning saves (in back-to-back games, no less!) in the WS last year when they had tried it the year before and failed.

  8. All I can say at this point is THANK GOD we have such a huge lead in the division race. But going into the playoffs we will probably the only team that has no closer. I don’t trust Jansen……I don’t trust Kelly. So unless Gonsolin or May or Urias or anyone else is given a chance to take the job, we head into the playoffs fearing the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Good thing our starters rarely have short outings like most teams. At this point it is obvious, Roberts and Friedman don’t trust any of the other options to be any better than Kenley. Sure glad we have Max Muncy!

  9. I can just hear Mitch Poole and his guys last nite……..Kenley wants to get dressed so GET OUT!

  10. These comments are right on the money. Your eyes sometimes tell you things that stats don’t but in this case they are right in line. This is not the Jansen of four years ago. Middle relief or bench. The World Series depends on that. Too much talent to let Managerial foolishness throw it all away.

  11. Kenley makes 18 or 20 million dollars a year. Think about it ,and we ask him to get 3 outs in 1 inning,maybe twice a week without giving up a run and he can’t do it.We’re facing disaster in the upcoming playoffs if we don’t find a viable solution to the closer role. We all know the games will be close,maybe one or two runs difference.I say give Kelly a chance now,at least he doesn’t give up consistent home runs and his stuff is quality with an excellent curve and 98 to 100 heat.

    • Kelly has good stuff…….that’s why they signed him…….but Kelly lacks the control to be a closer………he will walk hitters at a crucial moments………giving teams free passes/base runners is not a quality you want in a closer.

    • Yes Andy I totally agree with all your words, long time Dodger fan here. Their money today was earned by “ pass “ performance which is kinda sad when players peak & start their decline but it happens to all especially pitchers. Facing these powerhouse teams ( Yanks, Astros, etc. ) & even some National teams the Dodgers are really going to have it all together including the offense ( home runs & small ball ). But losses are tuff, for me there is no other team. Go Dodgers !

  12. John Higelin-Praying Jansen gets it turned around. Love the guy but how long can the Dodgers wait.

    Look at his game logs: in fifteen of his appearances he gave up runs.
    That’s about 30 percent of the time he either cost us the game or got bailed out by a walk off or got the blown save. Even when he got the win it’s because he allowed the game to be tied but somehow got credit for the “W” He’s given up 22 runs in 48 innings that’s really bad.

    It may sound crazy but wouldn’t it be awesome to see Kershaw Start one game and relieve in two of them as the playoffs unfold. Let each series dictate what the need is.

    If Hill can start and be good,or even Urias start one game and relieve one game maybe that could compensate. Let’s start auditioning Gonsolin soon as a late inning guy.

    Kelly- close
    Baez late inning
    Gonsolin late inning
    Kolarek – lefties
    Jansen – low leverage for now
    Let’s let Sadler pitch and see what he’s really got.

  13. Remember when Kenley Jansen threatened that the players should go on strike?
    Maybe he should take his own advice.

    • Maybe Kenley can work on his pitching style in off season and become a dominant closer again (he has earned benefit of the doubt) bit for this year, I think it is too late. I doubt we see Jansen closing games out in post season. Dodgers will probably follow the Red Sox formula from last year and use starting pitch depth in the pen. (Remember sox all star closer was not called on very much)

  14. Dodgers are better off without Jansen. He will cost the Dodgers another World Series loss. He has too much pride and bad for team chemistry when he insists he should be the closer and wants the ball in save situations despite his poor performances throughout the season. Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman should care more about winning the Championship than hurting Jansen’s feelings.

      • The logic of taking a pitcher out during a one-hitter in the World Series, because it’s the opposing team’s third time at bat against the pitcher says it all. You can not win with Dodger logic like that. Beating so-so National league teams, is not the same at good American League teams in the post-season. Cora was right when he said that he knew the Dodgers moves before the games ever started. The Dodgers follow a formula, no matter what. Hey, I’m happy with three National League titles.

        • Last year there were the daily platoon lineups but correct on your post here. those moves made contributed to these losses as much as anything else. FO and Roberts must realize that they cannot manage the games and lineups in the PS and WS they way they do in the regular season.. It’s obvious that these strategies didn’t produce the desired results.

    • I totally agree. Egos don’t win championships. He has to look himself in the mirror and face the facts he doesn’t have closer stuff anymore and relinquish the job to someone that can,namely Joe Kelly.

  15. The only way that Jansen will not be the closer is if he gets hurt. He’s being paid too much money to justify a reduced role. I don’t wish Jansen gets hurt because I believe in karma, but… it’s the only way someone else will get a chance to be the closer.

    • Playing the same type of baseball during the regular season, against the Padres, Giants, Marlins, is NOT the same as playing the Astros or the Yankees in the post-season. What “got us there” does not work. The fact that Roberts toyed with Pederson at first base, for so long, was a sign of something weird. That is something out of a celebrity All Star charity game, not a team who is focused on be a championship team.

  16. Jansen was the guy who was okay with the team signing another closer…as long as he remained the closer. Nice team first attitude. And what’s this crap about him relying on his cutter too much? Who is calling the pitches? Apparently Kenley is. Too bad he’s as stubborn as Roberts.

  17. A lot of talk here about KJ and what may happen in the PS and WS with the current BP. But remeber this however, that Dodgers lost these past 2 WS (12 games combined) because the offense didn’t show up AND the rest of the pitching staff besides Kenley gave up 23 HR’s in these 12 games.

    • Oh come on Jansen had two big chokes in 2017 WS. Game 2, could not close the 9th allowed game tieing HR. Dodgers later lost in the 11th. Game 5, Jansen was the losing pitcher couldn’t hold a tie ball game. If the Dodgers win anyone of those games, Dodgers would have have been crowed champs.

  18. Roberts bends over backwards to massage Jansen’s ego in public. What about the other 24 guys in the locker room? What do they think about Jansen’s performance this year? Especially Buehler who has left at least two games late with a 2-0 or 1-0 lead only to watch Jansen blow it?

  19. Roberts comments are beyond stupid. Lost 2017 by pitching Darvish his second game, lost 18 by not making Hill continue in the 7th inning. And will now lose 19 by pitching Jansen. Roberts is looking OK because the offense is special and saving his butt. But reality is he is a pretty dumb manager. Couldn’t he let Kenley off the hook by just not commenting. Blind support is not going to get the dodgers over the hump to win the WS.

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