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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Retracts His Negative Comments About Kenley Jansen

One night after sounding unsure about Kenley, Doc is feeling better.



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. 

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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. Wow how clueless can you be? Jansen was nowhere close to hitting his targets last night and had a big drop in velocity and walked a man to allow the Brewers best hitter to come up as the tying run!
    Is he so concerned to not let Jansen be upset with him he will tell us a ridiculous take on last night?

  2. Coward, but maybe part of the blame should go to Jansen he’s probably a baby that Roberts has to be careful with

    • I don’t care what Roberts says. I care about what he does. Gatorade closed out game 2 instead of Jansen. That was a good move. Several other guys are more capable closers than Jansen, and if they also close games down the line, those will be good moves as well.

  3. It’s pretty clear that Roberts is finally seeing that Jansen is losing it. But he’s also trying to spin his words to placate Kenley. Come on Dave grow a pair and say what yoj mean and mean what you say. The fact that Gaterol closed out thd gsmd speaks volumes that Dave is too wussy to say.

  4. Do you remember the old saying, “actions speak louder than words?” It doesn’t matter what Roberts said, his actions made clear what he thought of Kenley. BTW I almost choked on my popsicle when Roberts said that the reason he didn’t bring Jansen in was because of the work the night before. Look up how many innings Jansen has worked in the last 10 days. And, oh yeah, the Dodgers don’t play again until Tuesday!

  5. Mechanics ain’t gonna increase his cutter from 86 back to 95 would have lost last nights game if he put in Kenley.

  6. Roberts is voicing what they’re telling to say from above. Friedman’s pulling the strings. Modern baseball coaches are nothing more than media relations guys.

  7. Kenley is pitching like his arm is just…worn out. Cutters are supposed to be bat breakers. I don’t think Kenley’s could break a chopstick.

  8. Agree with Tmaxster. When Jansen misses he misses by at least a foot or more out of the zone. Easy for hitters to lay off and a very comfortable At-Bat for them. Jansen should ask May, Treinen, or Gonsolin to show him their grip which gets them so much great movement. But the core problem is loss of control and velocity. So shaky right now. Watch the opposing hitters, they look very comfortable. Roberts needs to be courageous and do the right thing, these playoff teams have great hitters.

  9. BTW: Astros cheating story and Covid outbreak kinda help everyone forget how badly Roberts manage the bullpen in the playoffs vs. Washington Nationals.

    He really needs to what’s necessary to win and stop being a “player’s manager” in crucial moments.

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