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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Sidesteps Committing to Kenley Jansen as Closer

The Dodgers manager brushed off an opportunity to back Jansen as the Dodgers closer for the remainder of the season.



In case you haven’t heard, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen blew a save on Wednesday. The Dodgers held a 3-2 lead against the Athletics on Wednesday. Jansen could not close the deal.

Jansen yielded a single, a walk, and two sacrifice flies to allow the A’s to tie the game 3-3. The Dodgers lost in extra innings 4-3.

The three time All-Star has struggled the last several years in sealing victories. Jansen posted a sterling ERA of 2.05 2014-17 and an ERA+ of 188. Jansen was the dominant closer in the MLB those years.

Since then, Jansen owns a 3.32 ERA and a 122 ERA+. His lethal cutter has continued to lose velocity.

Jansen Average Cutter Velocity (MPH)

  • 2014: 94.4
  • 2015: 92.9
  • 2016: 94.2
  • 2017: 93.4
  • 2018: 92.3
  • 2019: 91.9
  • 2020: 90.9
  • 2021: 91.0

Dodgers reliever Corey Knebel slammed the door shut in Friday’s win against the Washington Nationals. Knebel struck out the side to close out the 1-0 victory for the Dodgers.

However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wouldn’t commit to a new designated closer despite Knebel’s recent success.

“I think we’re just in a really good spot. Whether it’s Victor in a certain run, Corey, or Blake, I feel good about any one of those guys outside of Kenley.”

The reporter, Bill Plunkett, continued to press Roberts on Jansen. Plunkett asked if Kenley’s back to back appearances this week affected Roberts’s decision to pitch Knebel in a save situation.

“I just think it’s just appreciating what we went through last year and understanding that we got to play through October and take care of all of our guys.”

Roberts clearly respects what Jansen has done for the Dodgers franchise. Jansen is the Dodgers all-time saves leader.

Regardless, it’s inarguable that Kenley is not as effective as he used to be.

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Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. kenley also blew the loss in oakland. booooo to the jansen/roberts combo. really hard to watch.

  2. It’s obvious the Knebel should be the closer RIGHT NOW. Against the Nats he got the save by by striking out the side on 10 pitches (one pitch over the minimum). I don’t think anyone even fouled the ball off. He blew them away with a 97 MPH fastball and an 80 MPH knuckle curve. That’s a nearly 20 MPH difference in velocity that is almost impossible to adjust to. Credit goes to AF again for getting him. AF knows how to get guys, especially pitchers, coming back from injuries, and getting rock solid performances from them. AF needs to lay down the law with DR and tell him that he got Knebel to win games. Period.

  3. Let’s see – the players got their rings for 2020 and they’re 6 – 2 now. What’s with all the negative stuff and this fascination with Jansen closing? Who pitched the 9th of 1 run game yesterday? Man just enjoy the ride.

  4. Truth can hurt. Jansen is a smart guy and is well aware of the effects of aging. He will put the welfare of the team at the top of his list like any of these Dodgers would. Also, he will trust Roberts to make decisions based on what is best for the team, not any individual.

  5. Knebel is what a closer suppose to do. 3 up 3 down shut- down game over. Non of this nonsense of prolonging games w/ walks, HBP, more balls than strikes, and giving up hits because of falling behind counts. Gonsavles, Treinen, Knebel —- shut-down order. Game over!

  6. They should only use Jansen when the game is a lose. Franchise really needs to get rid of Jansen and Roberts, The team is making Roberts look good, not himself.

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