On Tuesday, a familiar feeling of unrest hit Dodgers fans. Even if it was really for the first time this season, closer Kenley Jansen struggled to record the final outs of a ballgame once again. And with that came the panic.
This week on “Off Air with Joe and Orel” — the podcast hosted by the Dodgers’ broadcast team — Dave Roberts shared his thoughts on what went wrong for Kenley in that outing.
“I noticed that the cutter wasn’t what it has been the last few outings, that’s one thing. He was throwing a few more 2-seamers, which I did like, but he just couldn’t find that lane. … It’s something he’s been working on, but I do think that the body of work this year — I think that Kenley’s gonna be fine.”
Again, it needs to be noted that this was Jansen’s first real struggle of the 2020 season. Moreover, it was also the first time he had been asked to record more than 3 outs in nearly a year. Giving Kenley a pass is more than fair considering he’s coming off of being named the National League Reliever of the Month for a stretch that saw him allow only 2 earned runs over 14.2 innings pitched.
Pitchers are almost always due for a stinker or two over a season, even those with the track record of the Dodgers’ all-time saves leader. So, really, it’s not time to sound the alarms on Kenley just yet.
“When you have high expectations of a player, said Roberts, “that’s kind of what you made yourself into. But certainly, for us — if we’re going to win it all, we’re gonna need Kenley to be right.”
That much is an undeniable fact. Ideally for the Dodgers and Jansen, Roberts ensures that he’s put into positions to succeed… like, not being brought in for 4+ out saves.