Kenley Jansen had another dominate performance on Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. Jansen didn’t allow a baserunner nor a walk while striking out the final two hitters to close out a 1-0 victory.
Seemingly, a key to Jansen’s success this year has been rest. Manager Dave Roberts has only used him in back to back games once. It was Jansen’s only blown save – April 7th in Oakland.
However, Roberts refused to commit to continuing to rest Kenley in between appearances during Tuesday’s post game press conference.
“We’ll see. We’ll see…it’s not a hard and fast that he doesn’t go back to back. We’ll evaluate as the season goes.”
The Dodgers manager noted it’s an approach that they’re trying to take with all of their pitchers.
“Early on, I think it’s just really smart and we’re seeing the benefits.”
Roberts can skirt the question out of respect to the veteran, but spacing out Jansen’s performances this season have paid dividends.
Since the Oakland blowup, Kenley owns a 2.08 ERA and a .063 BAA. None of those four outing have been in back to back days.
In fact, Kenley’s career best ERA and WHIP are in appearances on one day of rest. This isn’t a small-sample-size-April statistic. Kenley’s now pitched in 639 games for the Dodgers.
Kenley Jansen Days of Rest ERA & WHIP
- 0 Days’ Rest (175 games): 2.47 ERA / 0.926 WHIP
- 1 Days’ Rest (163) : 1.94 ERA / 0.883 WHIP
- 2 Days’ Rest (124): 2.83 ERA / 0.895 WHIP
- 3 Days’ Rest (77): 2.20 ERA / 0.918 WHIP
- 4 Days’ Rest (46): 2.70 ERA / 1.01 WHIP
- 5 Days’ Rest (22): 2.22 ERA / 1.07 WHIP
- 6+ Days’ Rest (32): 2.76 / 0.918 WHIP
Another benefit of the additional rest this season seems to be a steady increase in velocity. Jansen averaged 93.5 MPH on his cutter on Tuesday. He averaged 90.9 MPH last year. He was firing in sinkers in Seattle at an average 95.2 MPH. Jansen’s sinker sat at 92.3 MPH in 2020.
Jansen even hurled a sinker to the Mariners Kyle Seager at 97 MPH. According to brooksbaseball.net, that’s the fastest pitch the Dodgers all-time saves leader has thrown since June 2018.
Now that the Dodgers have other veteran relievers with late game experience in Treinen and Knebel, Roberts can afford to utilize Jansen at his best-rested.