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Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Open to Being Used Outside of the 9th Inning

Dave Roberts might need Kenley in even bigger spots this postseason.



The Dodgers might try to get a little bit creative with how they use their bullpen during the 2020 postseason. Rather than deploying Kenley Jansen strictly in save situations, Dave Roberts has discussed using him in big moments during some games. 

This wouldn’t be the first time that Kenley has been used unconventionally during the playoffs. There have been several times over the last few years where Roberts has asked Jansen to get important outs in the 7th and 8th innings for the Dodgers as well. But the timing of it all is interesting. 

Like I said the other day, he’s our closer. But there are still opportunities and I talked to Kenley yesterday, just to kind of be on the same page that there’s still going to be times that I might need him in a different inning. And he’s on board with whatever to help us win baseball games. It’s a title, but I think that in practice there are certain innings and certain parts of the lineup where he’s the best option. 

Dave Roberts had said that Kenley’s stuff ‘lacked teeth’ after he closed out game 1 of the Wild Card Series. That led many to wonder if Doc was losing faith in his long-time closer, though he later backtracked on those comments. Then in game 2 of that series, the Dodgers went with Brusdar Graterol even though Kenley was available. 

Still, if Roberts is hoping to use Kenley in the biggest spot of the game, that should speak enough about his confidence in him. Some of the biggest moments of the game may come in the 7th or 8th inning, and the Dodgers won’t be afraid to throw Kenley out there. Fortunately, they have plenty of guys who can handle the 9th this season. 

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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 hoping these comments are simply masking what we all know to be true. Kenley isn’t the shut down guy we need in the 9th anymore. He just doesn’t have same stuff. So by using him in earlier “key” situations, it removes the pressure to use him in the 9th. It also gives Roberts an answer to the questions he’ll be asked post game about not using Kenley to close the game. I really, really, really hope this is the case. Kenley is almost the last guy in our pen that I want to see try to close it out in the 9th inning.

  2. If his stuff is “lacking teeth” then is doesn’t matter when he is used.does it? If he can’t shut down a team in the ninth why would you assume he could successfully shut down a team in the seventh?

  3. Just have the pen ready if he gets the call. If he walks someone or gives up a hit yank him immediately!

  4. All good players start to lose it as they come to the end of their careers. It’s okay to admit he isn’t the pitcher he was a few years ago. It’s good the see Roberts finally coming to that realization. Consult with the bullpen coach as to has the best stuff. If the guy warming up in the bullpen sucks, don’t expect any difference when he takes the mound.

  5. Another round with ROBERTS and JANSEN here we go again!! ROBERTS is going to use JANSEN in a different role beside being a closer. Every inning is important in the playoffs especially , you have limited amount of games ,one bad inning could cost the Dodgers the playoffs , any relief pitcher can have a bad inning costing the lead or win but the chances of that happening with JANSEN coming into a game at any time is far more likely to happen , I would keep JANSEN out of any game …..where the score is close or the Dodgers are not ahead by at least by six (6 runs) and two (2) outs then it may be safe to bring him in the game , but by no means do not bring him in the game any sooner. I am sure ROBERTS will be gone after this year along with JANSEN no matter who just signed a contract or not , that’s what friends are for ,ROBERTS and JANSEN will be together again 2021 fishing on JANSEN’S boat in……. CURACAO.

  6. Bottom line however, is it won’t matter what inning Jansen may be brought in, if Dodger hitters strike out the way they did in gsme 2 with Brewers and the pitchers can’t keep the Padre hitters in the yard, we won’t win anyway. Just recall the past few post seasons as an example. If that’s the case against Padres, we won’t be watching the Dodgers in the NLCS.

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