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Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Deserves Recognition After Big Game Last Night



Dodgers fans are tough on Kenley Jansen. He sort of set himself up for that with years of absolute dominance. It’s to the point now where if he’s not perfect every night out, he gets torn apart by fans online and sometimes at the stadium. 

And in all honesty, I am one of those fans. I’ve had my share of Kenley slander in the past few years dating back to Game 2 of the 2017 World Series. Some of it is more than warranted, but often times I fail to recognize how good he can be for the Dodgers.

Friday night was one of those moments. Kenley came into a tied ballgame that he never should have had to enter. The Dodgers’ bullpen blew a 4-run lead late and Jansen had to step in to keep the game tied in the 9th. 

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And he delivered. Kenley shut down the Mets in the 9th and came back on in the 10th with a 2-run lead. He had to work around some trouble, but ultimately slammed the door on the Mets and earned an extra-innings win for the Dodgers. 

It was the first time all year that Kenley had pitched a full 2 innings for the Dodgers, and he was doing it after pitching on Thursday in Philly. So while I often give Jansen a hard time, he deserves recognition for this one. Especially in a game that Dave Roberts burned a lot of his high-leverage arms. 

Appreciate you, Big Man. 

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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. I’m not ready to absolve or exonerate Jansen after his performances since 2019… even family has a black sheep.

  2. Jansen threw 2 innings after throwing the game before. That’s really good news, and I look forward to more vintage Kenley as we come down to the wire. Like doc says, if he’s on, the entire bullpen is in great shape. Congrats Kenley. Good job Brook!

  3. Brook, you are right to point out that Kenley started his career with absolute dominance. I don’t think that most Dodgers fans expect KJ to be that dominant after all these years, I just think that they expect a team run by such a smart front office to have a dominant closer and they dislike the fact that they do not. There was a day when Troy Percival gave way to K-Rod and there was a day that Wetteland gave way to Mariano Rivera. That is how a well-run baseball team handles it. They allow the heir-apparent to set up until they are better than the closer and then they take over. The Dodgers haven’t done that and now, unfortunately, the results of that lack of foresight are raining down on Jansen. Percival and Wetteland had respectable careers after they moved out of the closers role with the Angels and Yankees. KJ deserved the same treatment. The Dodgers front office didn’t set up that kind of hand-off as soon as Jansen started having heart issues. Maybe Knebel or Trienen can do this for them, but it needs to be done.

    • Absolutely. Although we should appreciate and respect KJ’s dominance in the past, many of us have been saying for awhile now that KJ can be best utilized in the 7th or 8th inning and not as our Dodgers’ closer, specifically when there is a tight game. It does not make sense that we do not use Trienan in the 9th for (what would usually be) a shut down inning. A closer is supposed to shut down the inning/game and secure the win. Instead, we are oftentimes subjected to a laborious 9th inning, and we haven’t a clue how it will end.

  4. Treinen has an ERA of 1.90. Jansen has an ERA of 2.90. Both of these ERAs are very good. But one is outstanding. Treinen has been the about the best in baseball lately. He should be the closer, along with Knebel.

  5. Watching Kenley Jansen pitch will give you the ‘bends.’ He’s up he’s down, he’s up he’s down.

  6. Treinen should not be the closer at all. An ERA doesn’t tell the whole story — like the runs he gives up that should be charged to him, but aren’t, because they were inherited. Baseball should change the way that’s recorded, I’ve said it for years. But that’s another subject.

    Treinen is not as good when he comes in in the middle of an inning. I’ve watched him blow nice leads by throwing wild and overthrowing. He doesn’t handle clutch situations Jansen has many times, and continues to do.

    Jansen was only the best closer in the MLB in the first half of the year. Dodger fans should be ashamed of themselves for booing him at the stadium. It’s not like he’s a Machado or Bauer, or something.

  7. The last pitch of the game was just missed for a walk off….meatball right down the middle he got away with. He’s a nightmare waiting to happen. The past is the past. These days he can’t be trusted

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