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Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Feels Something Clicked With Cutter

The big man is looking impressive.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after a 4-2 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Dave Roberts let the world know that Kenley Jansen would be pitching on Sunday night in New York. Kenley began warming in the 7th inning with the Dodgers trailing 2-1, before the team tied it up at 2 all. Coming in to a protect a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning isn’t something the big man is necessarily accustomed to, but he got the job done.

Very done.

He retired the side in order on 10 pitches — including Jeff McNeil and NL Rookie of the Year lock Pete Alonso.

Moreover, it marked the second straight outing where the closer looked impressive. Moreover, opposing batters are hitting only .117 in the month of September.

The movement is there, and the velocity generally seems to be trending upward.

After the game, Jansen shared a breakthrough he had in Baltimore.

More from Kenley.

I’ve been searching the whole year. This year was pretty tough for me, searching for something all the time. Now that it has clicked, you start to see the life again — it took a little time this year.

His manager echoed Jansen’s sentiments.

He’s had some outings where he’s throw up zeroes. But the way the ball was coming out these last two — like he’s said, he’s figured some things out. He and [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt have worked through some things. He’s peaking I think at the right time.

Kenley has famously said in the past that he “doesn’t really know how he throws his cutter,” and that he’s been blessed with natural movement… when right. However, he’s been searching for right for most of the season (and all of the second half).

Of course, if you’re not exactly sure how you throw your signature pitch, it can be a challenge to pinpoint mechanical adjustments through video and side work. In this case plainly playing long toss provided the “a-ha” moment that could set Kenley up for dominant run in October.

It’s only 2 outings, but baby steps are all he needs to take with 11 games to play.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

5 Comments

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  1. Being a good closer is not just “whenever I feel it click”………that helps, I’m sure, but being a great closer is what is going on between your ears. IMO Kenley no longer has that. Sorry Kenley I’m not buying it. Closing against the Orioles and the Mets doesn’t compare to closing against the Nationals, Yankees or Astros in the playoffs.

  2. Your skepticism is justified. He’s looked better his last 2 outings. We’ll see. Better get Urias right too. He’s been under the radar and avoided criticism, but has been as bad as Jansen in pressure appearances this year.

    • Urias has put the spotlight on his hoe smack downs so his performance on the mound goes undetected

  3. Jansen: “Feel it clicked”…
    Roberts: “He’s trying to figure it out”…

    Jansen’s been throwing that same cutter for the past 7 years and is still trying to “feel” it, “figure it out”…

    If a pitcher still can’t “feel/figure out” his pitch after 7 years, it spells “disaster” coming.

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