The Dodgers took game 1 of the Wild Card Series on Wednesday, but not without some questions marks that followed. One of those question marks was Kenley Jansen, who appeared to be off of his game despite locking down the save.
After the game, Dave Roberts admitted that he didn’t feel great about what he saw out of Jansen in the 9th inning. Doc described Jansen’s pitches as having ‘no teeth’ in the postgame press conference with Dodgers media. He also said that he would have to go look at the video to be sure though.
On Thursday afternoon, Doc immediately backtracked on what he had said the night before. The Dodgers skipper clarified that he did go look at the tape, and it was better than what he had seen from the dugout.
I thought it was much better than I expected or than I thought, you just take away that Jace Peterson at-bat. But everything else was right where it needed to be.
It does seem odd that Roberts went back and looked at the tape and felt better about what he saw. The Dodgers closer missed his spots on several occasions and his low velocity made him look gassed out. On the pitches that he did miss his spots, Kenley was in the zone. That’s not something that you love to see out of a closing pitcher.
When I looked at all four at-bats, it’s better than I thought. And that’s a good thing for the Dodgers…That’s something that’s not a good trend [velocity loss] and there was one in thre that was an 86 and that’s what kind of checked me up initially in the outing…But yeah, the last four outings there’s been a decrease in velocity.
Dave went on to also explain why he chose to get Brusdar Graterol up in the Dodgers’ bullpen after Jace Peterson reached on a walk. Jansen’s 86 mph cutter was enough to raise some serious concerns.
I just saw the 86 and I just didn’t know if Kenley was OK. You don’t want things to spiral out. You want to have protection. It’s just making sure that you cover your bases. … You’ve got Taylor and Gyorko coming up after Yelich and I just wanted to make sure if we needed to pivot we could do that.
Roberts added that Kenley had spent some time in the bullpen working on his mechanics before the game on Thursday. Whatever the case, an 86 mph cutter does not play up coming out of the Dodgers bullpen. Perhaps this was more of a way for Doc to instill confidence in his reliever, but he certainly changed course quickly.