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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Says Kenley Jansen Might Not Be Used as Closer

Jansen might not be the big dog in the NLDS.

Dodgers
Juyl 7, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) throws against the Los Angeles Angels in the ninth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kenley Jansen isn’t the same. We know this. Even when he has been the Jansen of past seasons, it does not tend to translate to the postseason. It seems to be a never-ending saga. This year might be different, however, with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts seemingly being open to using Jansen outside of the ninth inning.

According to a recent column by Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group, Kenley Jansen might be used in some non-save situations throughout the NLDS and if the Dodgers are fortunate to make it further, the NLCS and World Series.

Jansen, 32, has yet to be used in the NLDS against the Nationals due to both games being non-save situations. But going forward, it appears that he may be deployed in high-leverage situations regardless of the inning they present themselves. With Joe Kelly and Julio Urías in tow, this might be the smartest way to approach his usage.

Before

When Dave Roberts was asked about whether or not he would consider someone else being used to close out games due to unreliability on Jansen’s part, Roberts did not initially seem open to the idea. However, this was prior to Game 1:

“I don’t see that. I know Kenley is our closer. I don’t see that as an option. He’s done it and I want him to have the ball at the end of the game.”

After

When Roberts was asked prior to Game 2 about Jansen, his tone changed a great deal:

“It’s about getting outs. He understands that and appreciates that. Don’t read too much into it. I’m just saying he’s in such a good place – I’m telling you this is as good a place as he’s been in two years.”

Right Frame of Mind

Roberts also explained that this is the best frame of mind that Jansen has been in. Whether or not you believe it, this is good to hear. However, it remains to be seen in between the lines when it matters most.

“This is the best frame of mind he’s been in. So that speaks to his openness to pitch whenever there are important outs to be had. He understands that. It’s very telling. There’s no demotion. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. He’s our closer. But that doesn’t mean that there’s important outs in the eighth inning that we need him to get.”

The Dodgers openness to deploying Jansen outside of the ninth inning could thoroughly behoove the Dodgers and prove effective considering the other high-leverage options they have at their disposal.

Overall

If not Kenley, who do you want to see in the ninth inning? Let us know in the comments!

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

8 Comments

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  1. It’s not about the bullpen; it’s about patient at-bats, plate discipline, wearing out the pitcher and making good contact not trying to tear the cover off the ball. The Dodgers haven’t been doing that, for the most part. Only if that changes will they have a chance at winning this series.

  2. First ryu over Kershaw game 2.. ryu wouldn’t have given up 3 and we take that game. Game 3 on road should be number 22.. Then Kershaw’s no.control hitting batters with 2 strikes and hanging meat in the zone would.be a moot.point.. Pollack horrible at bats.. sooo miss verdugo.. belli love ya but wtf.. take pitches pass the baton bring out bats and don’t chase..grind… NO reason to have lux over kike.. Roberts always trying to be too cute and now our best ever team strays from everything they did well all season….no.more excuses!!!

  3. Kersh is not only no longer an ace, IMO he is a number 4 or 5 starter. Look at Verlander. He has maintained his velocity and is older than Kershaw. I would like to see May given another opportunity to start over Kershaw. Also, Gonsolin should have been on the playoff roster instead of Stripling. Game 3 is huge for us. It is a must win. After watching the Astros last night I am very pessimistic about our chances against them. Our whole team is in a slump except for Muncy. Pollack needs to be benched in favor of Beaty in left.

    • A big part of why Dodgers are tied in this series and not up 2 to 0 is the combined total of 13 strikeouts between Pollock, Bellinger and Seager, and most of those coming from chasing pitches way out of the zone. But did ya see how the Astros once again beat the Rays? It was simply by being capable of making contact, putting the ball in play especially with RISP. and while watching that Astro/ Ray game yesterday, all I kept feeling was that I was glad it was the Rays having to face Verlander and Cole and not Dodgers facing them.

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