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Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Hits 97 mph on the Radar Gun, Dave Roberts Reacts

We haven’t seen Kenley do this in a VERY long time.



The Dodgers have been without elite Kenley Jansen for a few years now. Since 2018, Kenley has not been that guy that comes into close games and instills confidence. He also didn’t get off to a great start in 2021 after blowing a save in Oakland. 

Kenley also heard the crowd boo him in Los Angeles a week later when he walked the leadoff batter against the Rockies. But since his blown save in Oakland, Kenley has shown some really sharp stuff for the Dodgers. 

He came out on Tuesday afternoon and did something Dodgers players and coaches have not seen in years. His cutter was moving like crazy, he was hitting his spots, and his velocity was off the charts. Dave Roberts talked a little about Kenley hitting 97 mph after the game: 

I hadn’t seen 97 — a couple of 97s — in a while. It was really good. He’s worked really hard to stay within his delivery and keep his lower half strong and right. It was really exceptional, even that slider to punch (Kyle) Seager late was really good. 

Doc wasn’t the only member of the Dodgers shocked by what they saw out of Kenley today. Austin Barnes talked about how he hasn’t seen that out of him in years, especially the velocity and movement on his pitches.

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It probably helped that Kenley was pitching on a few days of rest and no going back-to-back. The Dodgers have an unfortunate pattern of trying to use him on back-to-back games, and it almost never works out well. 

If they can make him more of a part-time closer, they could have a lot of success with him. 

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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. It seems everyone posting here knows that! So, why doesn’t Roberts? Still outsmarting himself…

  2. I have my doubts. Does this mean, that Roberts will be updating when Jensen eats and goes to sleep, too?? (That’s the most clean version), I could think of. Stop the love affair!!

  3. If the 5 starters can stay healthy and go 6 innings 80% – 90% of the time [they have occasional extra rest days due to off days/travel days]

    And of them, let Bauer pitch 7 innings more often than not [for $45 million, he should pitch complete games every time out]

    6 relievers go 1 inning each [7th, 8th and 9th] every other game [81 innings each per 162 games, a little high, but doable if limited to 1 inning at a time, never back to back, ]

    scott alexander (7th) , treinen (8th) , jansen (9th) ; knebel (7th), graterol (8th), gonzalez (9th);

    2 of the other relievers used to make up any shortfall, cover extra innings, rare occasions when the starters can’t go 6, which add to the total number of innings to be covered [less than 200 innings per year caused by extra innings ] [2 from the 4 of gonsolin, santana, kelly, nelson]

    Occasionally they won’t have to pitch the 9th inning [on the road, trailing after the top of the ninth]

    And in case of injuries [to be expected] someone from the minors to step up when needed

  4. Is this for real? Jansen rarely hit 97 MPH in his prime. So where did this come from? I’ve been one of Jansen’s biggest detractors because of his 90 MPH fastball and 89 MPH cutter that doesn’t cut. I still find this sudden increase in velocity and movement to be highly questionable. But hey, I’ll be watching. If some miracle happened that made him a better pitcher, let’s see if it sticks. If it does, let him pitch.

  5. We have plenty of tools to just use him 3 days a week tops. The forgotten one is our offense. We are going to have a bunch of games where we are ahead by 3 plus runs. So Price, Knebel, Gonzalez, or Graterol should be just fine for the 1 or 2 day rest scenario.

  6. The one thing that I have noticed is that Jansen is pushing off much harder off of his back leg/foot this year. This could account for 1. his increase in velocity and 2. more accuracy as his landing foot becomes more consistent. Just seems like he was not using his lower body as much in previous years and trying to be “all arm”. He’s a pretty big guy so can generate a lot of power with his size. Hopefully he can continue this throughout the season. Of course he is battling Father Time but Verlander, when healthy, just keeps going despite his age.

  7. I will slightly take notice, if he is still doing the same, by the All-Star break and even by then, I will be skeptical

  8. We saw Roberts lead the Dodgers to a WS Championship picking Kenley’s spots. There is no reason to believe he’ll change that script this year. and Kenley knows for him to be the guy, he’s got to deliver the goods. So his offseason work outs and fine tuning are producing much better results so far. and as long as he pitches every other day or every 3rd day, he’s going to be lights out!! That wicked 97 mph slider for the K was filthy!!

  9. Sticky Fingers Bauer up to no good.The Dodgers need to clean this up before we become the West Coast ASStros! Kenley going from 91mph to 97mph overnight just doesn’t happen, unless some illegal stuff going on.

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