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Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Doesn’t Have An Answer For Why He Didn’t Backup the Play at the Plate

A rough play highlighted by Kenley not entirely doing his job.



It was a rough time to be a Dodgers fan on Saturday night. Playing in Game 4 of the World Series, Los Angeles had every opportunity to take a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5 over the Rays. Instead, they handed over the lead multiple times and the series is now tied up.

While it’s frustrating to let a game like that get away from you, the more frustrating part came on the final play of the game. Kenley Jansen had allowed a soft contact single and a walk that put the winning run on. Brett Phillips bloop hit drove in both, but only because the Dodgers kicked the ball around in the outfield and at home plate. 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the part that fans had the toughest time with. On the replay, Kenley can be seen dropping to his knees on the hit, watching the ball go to the outfield. He then walked over to the third baseline rather than back up Will Smith at home, where pitchers are traditionally supposed to go on that play. The Dodgers’ closers’ comments after the game were much more infuriating for fans. 

This was the second time during the press conference that Kenley was asked about the play. His first answer wasn’t exactly clear, but he essentially said that he was looking for where he was supposed to be on the play.

To not back up the play is one thing, but to dismiss it entirely in the postgame press conference is a tough pill to swallow for fans. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts later tried to say that he didn’t see where Kenley was during the play, but that he should have been around the third base line. 

Accountability matters. 

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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. Probably not concerned about the back up because he knew that once the tying run scored the game was lost anyway. Just like how everyone watching at home felt.

    • The problem continues with Robert’ not knowing that Jansen can’t pitch in these games, it’s the same every year with both.

    • Game was lost when Baiz came in and the nail in the coffin was when Jansen took the mound! Sorry but they both suck!!!!

  2. And just to fault the headline. When you say “not entirely” I’m curious, just what part of his job did Jansen actually then do? He blew the save and the game and didn’t back up home. That’s a trifecta right there.

  3. I’m normally one to try and keep positive with this team, but they are now underdogs in a best of 3 series and very possibly handed it all away tonight. We could point to Muncy getting pulled to the ground at 2nd but really Baez and Jansen need to take the fall behind Roberts. The nearly 400million dollar man CAN NOT go 0-5, the DESIGNATED HITTER only got on base with an intentional walk. Being a Dodger fan is far more pain than pleasure

    • You are so correct about the Muncy call. One of the worst call in World Series history. Who knows how many more runs the Dodgers could have scored. And yet, we were still in it. And what does that wonderful manager of the Dodgers do? The same blasted thing he has been doing for the past four years. He puts in Baez and Jansen. Unbelievable.

      • Dave Robert’s is a bonehead ! As long as he’s the manager making boneheaded decision the Dodgers are doomed. Why did he have Kiki bunt when has been the clutch hitter when the time was right ? Does every crucial situation have to be analytical ?, I think he’s an idiot manager!

  4. Inexcusable. Bad plays happen, but if you put yourself in the right position for your team you limit the risk of those plays causing your team to lose. Pitchers are drilled on this exact play from a young age, it’s not a secret, this is absolutely the only thing you do the moment the ball is hit over the infield. KJ was lazy, let his emotions take control mid play and became complacent, then didn’t take responsibility for it afterwards. So many bad things on that play: CT pulling his head before watching the ball into the glove, RA taking a strange angle, losing his balance and falling in the grass, Muncy’s relay being a bit off target, Will Smith not ditching his mask limiting his peripheral vision and causing him to rush a tag for a phantom player that wasn’t there. But only one of those things happens because the player is not in a position to make a play (Kenley) and that is simply inexcusable in my book. Shame on a player whose legacy should be tarnished by his performance tonight whether he wants to cop to it or not.

    • Still think we pull this out. But I have stood behind Kenley for a while now ( as have others). But I think he may be bye bye this off season. Something is wrong with him and it is more than physical. As for right now, I think he has seen his last action this year. Roberts has got to act on this one. And I think he will be told from above. Even if it is in quietly using other options in the pen. Clayton is going to silence a few folks tomorrow. So lets stand behind him.

  5. How do we lose a game when Turner and Seager get EIGHT hits??? The answer is Treinen, Baez and Jansen. And their enabler, Roberts.

    • Rainbirdmuse, perfectly stated! Baez will be a FA after this WS and good riddance, after the past several Octobers of giving up the long ball and allowing every inherited runner on the face of this earth to score during the PS. BOTH Roberts and Jansen need to be given their walking papers should Dodgers lose this WS.

  6. Why has management not let Jensen go? He has cost the Dodgers 2 previous World Series and could possibly cost them a third. He is a curse and cannot close when it matters. The guy just blows save opportunities in every World Series. Please stop using him!!!

  7. Every time Jansen comes in it’s drama , he pitched well for an inning or two then he goes back to his 91,92 mph fast ball no movement , I’m going to end this point of view , so much frustration ! I just am so tired of the same scenario ending the same with Jansen , you will know the outcome 3out of 5 times lose the lead or game. Some closer.

  8. Jansen needs to be benched. And if Roberts can’t do that then he has got to go. Every damn time!! His pitches suck now. Plus the pouting I’m so damn tired of this team’s failures.

  9. Even if Jansen had backed up the plate, the ball caromed off to the side, he wouldn’t have had a play anyway.

    This is quite possibly the toughest lost I have ever had to endure. I sure wish Bellinger had been in CF! Barnes should catch the rest of the games. Friedman , as good as he is, always gives us an insufficient bullpen. Kenley has become a joke! Baez should change his name to Blowaez.

    If the Dodgers lose this series, I’m seriously considering blowing my brains out. I’ve already got the bullet picked out and it’s in the chamber.

  10. Kenley can not be trusted. He has blown it in the 17 and 18 series and now this. He should be gone, Roberts should be gone for trusting him over and over, it’s the definition of Insanity.

  11. If the the dodgers lose the World series this lost will be looked as the turning point to the dodgers downfall, Roberts decisions to even allow j\Jensen near mound is hard to swallow in a game the Dodger players played so hard to win. The amount of pitches Jensen needs to obtain any outs is ridiculous, hope Dodger player can regain momentum.

  12. On the last play of Game 4, Jansen without a doubt should have been backing up home plate after Phillips’ hit dropped into the outfield. If he is going to stand around and watch players go home and score runs, one can only hope he is doing it from the bullpen and not on the playing field.

    On the game ending play, backing up home would not have enabled him to stop the ball when it flew out of Will Smith’s glove if he had been in the proper position. However, backing up home plate would have put him in position to yell at Will Smith that Arozarena had fallen down on his way home. That would have prevented Will Smith from thinking he had to make a rushed catch-and-spin tag before he squeezed the baseball which had just been thrown to him.

    Rays’ Third Base Coach Rodney Linares was right in place and when Arozarena fell down he was able to first holler at him to get back to third and a second later when the ball flew out of Smith’s glove he could direct him to go home.

    Jansen didn’t even acknowledge the error of his ways in the press conference. He should never, ever try to close in a playoff again!

  13. For the rest of the Series, Austin Barnes should remain as catcher and Will Smith as the designated hitter. That last play of Game 4 probably would have been handled much better by the seasoned Barnes than by Smith. At this level of play, stay with experience where needed.

  14. The Dodgers lost this game because management and ownership did not believe the team needed a first-rate closer during the off season or at this season’s trade deadline. If the Dodgers lost this Series, Dave Roberts will be gone, but his decision-making is governed (as it should be) by the personnel available to him, and that’s on management and ownership.

  15. AIR OUT THE B.P. SPEND MONEY ON GREAT RELIF PITCHRS,FIRE D.R. CAUSE HE WOULD NOT KNOW HOW TO MANAGE A GOOD B.P. A.F. HAS STOP SUPORTING D.R. BAD MANGEMENT. MUNCEY THROW OFF, HE DOES NOT HAVE GOOD ARM,HE IS OVER PAID,&D.R.THINKS SUN SETS IN HIS ASS,HITTING CLEAN UP , BULL SH——-. MUNCY LEFT ENOUGH RUNNER ON TO WIN 3 GAMES,TRADE HIM,FIRE D.R.. CORY IS CARYING TH TEAM,WITH KISH & WALKER & JULIO. A.F. HAVE BOB MANAGE TONITE AND WIN.

  16. Just again watched Dave in the post game press conference. Unbelievably, he said that Mookie fumbled the ball in the outfield on the last play!

  17. i hope i’m wrong, but with dave roberts as manager, i am extremely doubtful the dodgers will ever win a world series…he goes by some kind of formula rather than adapting to the situation at hand and who is hot…graterol should be the closer…jensen’s falling to his knees and being a spectator rather than backing up the play was bush league…his head is not in the game and he has let his teammates down…

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