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Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Ties Career High in Blown Saves

Kenley is struggling with luck and stuff of late…

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing an eighth inning home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. (not pictured) #19 of the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Kenley Jansen had another sub-par performance on Wednesday night to add to what has been a very lackluster season for the Dodgers’ closer.

Jansen entered the game against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the ninth looking to preserve a one-run lead, however, as has happened a number of times this season, the game headed for extras after he failed to get the job done.

The first batter reached second on a dropped ball in the outfield, then advanced to third on a pop-up to right field, and finally reached home thanks to a wild pitch from Jansen. To make matters worse, he walked the next batter who eventually stole second and placed the Padres in position to win off a walk-off single before the Dodgers’ got the final out of the inning.

This was Jansen’s seventh blown save of the season, which marked a career milestone he was certainly trying to avoid.

Fan Confidence in Jansen Declining

For fans, Jansen’s performance only furthered worries about the reliever’s ability to close for the team going forward.

Many have already called for him to be stripped of his closer spot and for those responsibilities to be given to Joe Kelly, who’s turned his season around after a worrisome first couple of months.

Defensive Woes

It should be noted that the defense behind Jansen hasn’t been elite during his past two appearances, which has been unfortunate considering his confidence is likely wavering after a string of bad performances.

On Saturday against the Yankees, a couple of blown plays led to a bases-loaded situation that Jansen was fortunate to get out of, and then tonight a dropped ball in the outfield allowed the first batter to immediately get into scoring position.

It’s almost certain that Jansen will have a number of save opportunities before the Dodgers regular season ends, so he’ll have an opportunity to hopefully turn his season around before the playoffs start. However, if he’s not able to shake this slump, the Dodgers may be in trouble if they continue to trust him come October.

Written by Kellan Grant

I’m currently a junior at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and I have a passion for sports journalism. I grew up in the LA area and am a diehard fan of the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, UCLA, Kings. My favorite Dodgers memory was watching Kershaw tear up after the team won the 2017 NLCS and advanced to the World Series for the first time in his career. After college, I plan on either pursuing a career as a sports journalist or working in sports law.

40 Comments

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  1. After Kenley Jansen gave up thr tying run on a wild pitch, he walked back to the mound then closed his eyes. He was thinking what everyone else was thinking, “oh no, not again”. You could really feel for the guy. But it’s already end of August, yet Dave Roberts is still staying with Jansen as closer. There’s only one month left to experiment a new closer, if they don’t do it now, it would be too late.

  2. It’s time to give Joe Kelly a chance before the playoffs start to be the closer. I really don’t know what role I trust Jansen in.

    • Anyone regretting not trading Lux for Vasquez yet? Ok let’s wait until Jansen does blows another save in the postseason.

      • Not at all. Not even close.
        Jansen cannot blow saves if Roberts stops allowing it.
        Roberts is the issue, not Jansen.

      • Vasquez would NOT guarantee ANYTHING with the way the team is managed and with other holes having been exposed. He certainly could not win us a ring all by himself, so I say NO WAY NOW HOW should we have trade the stud Lux for him…PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • No is claiming that Vasquez would have guarantee a ring. Just saying that with Vasquez the Dodgers had a better shot at closing out games then with Jansen and the other bullpen arms they have. And by the way no guarantee that Lux will be a stud at the MLB level . So stop complaining Dodgers fans about Jansen and the bullpen because this FO had a chance to do something about it but cbose to hold onto Lux instead.

          • I see your point, cant have your cake and eat it too. But understand that Lux would have been heavy price to pay even if Vasquez is an elite closer. And even if you move Kelly to close the 9th who is going to hold down the 7th and 8th? As for Robert’s, I think hes supportive of Jansen because anyway you have it, the Dodgers need him to pitch.

  3. Irony……….Kenley blows the save again………(and I knew he would before he took the mound)………but they give HIM the credit for winning the game! (Which should really go to Maeda).

  4. Apparently everyone, but management knows they need relief pitching. Instead we go Jerko – we have better hitters and infielders in OKC. Should have parted with a few of those TV bucks and gotten us a series victory.

  5. The blown catch by Taylor was not on Jansen, but the wild pitch and general shaky control was. Jansen is a horrible closer, he’s proven it over & over.

    However, the real issue is Dave Roberts. He makes the decisions which have allowed an excellent Dodgers team to under perform. The Jansen nightmare is over when Roberts stops it.

    Not to mention the ridiculous and seemingly never ending Pederson at 1st base ‘experiment’, plus: holding onto auto-out Barnes for so long, constant juggling of the lineups, illogical batting orders, and the use of out of shape players like Gyorko.

    If the Dodgers get there, the best MLB record will be huge in the World Series, the Dodgers should have had that pretty much wrapped up by now. Instead they are in jeopardy of not having it because of Roberts.
    Roberts must go for the Dodgers to realize their full potential.

    • Totally agree. We need Lux at 2nd and Roberts gone before we have any chance at winning the WS. His use of Jansen is bad but his total use of the rest of the bullpen is horrific. I wonder if when picking out the lineup does he use darts? Stop with the love affair, he stinks.

    • Would Verdugo have caught that ball that Taylor muffed last night? Probably. Should the ump have given Kenley a strike call against Mejia on the pitch that preceded the ball being hit to Taylor in the first place? Probably. Should Kenley have known that trying to throw the ball as hard as he possibly could at the top of the strike zone, that it would result in an 8 ft high passed ball when he was pitching to Tyler France. Probably. What’s my point? Jansen no longer has any confidence, it’s evident AND the karma fates no longer smile on him, like ever. He should be worried just driving to the ball park. Padres didn’t hit a ball particularly hard off Jansen — Urias’ flyout to advance Mejia was the hardest ball hit against him last night, but he (Kenley) could not stop the lowly Padres from scoring a run. The guy cannot pitch a scoreless inning to save his life any longer. But “Dave” keeps trotting him out there. It’s sad to watch…….I knew when the bottom of the ninth started and Kenley took the mound he was going to find a way to blow it. I’m sorry Kenley, but I do feel for you dude.

      • …………and let’s not forget that was the BOTTOM of the Padres batting order. If that was a team like say, the Astros or Cubs and he had to get a save against the TOP of their batting order…….what would be our chances of him protecting a lead against a group like that there “Dave” when he obviously has lost his self confidence, his swagger………..UGH. But you know what “Dave” is going to tell me……….“He’s throwing the ball well. He really is”

    • Don’t forget the ill advised signing of Pollock who is rated in the bottom 5% defensively of outfielders.

  6. No one, except those present there, know what’s going on amongst the Dodger’s coaching staff and Roberts. One has to suspect, however, that there has to be some concern that sending Jansen in to finish out a game, has now become something more of a crossed fingers and looking for divine intervention. Whatever is Jansen’s problem he has been having problems for some time this season and it is not getting better. Having the best record is fine, but it is not a WS win. The latest week of ball has exposed some of this Club’s weak areas, which are few, but the struggle with the @$#^ Yankees and the pathetic Padres indicate some changes need to be made and Jansen’s role of closer should top the list.

  7. If the Dodgers want to be sucessful in the post-season, Jansen can Not be the closer. I’m hoping somebody else steps, Kelly, Urias, May. I realize huge risk and question marks abound about all three.

  8. Kenley is an all time Dodger great. One of the best, if not the best, closer we have ever been blessed with on our team. That said, it’s painfully obvious that he has lost his best stuff. We cannot win in the Playoffs without a closer who can get the job done. Can Joe Kelly fill that role? That’s unknown, but we need to try him out as the closer. We’ve only got a month. Jansen might be better suited to the 7th or 8th inning role. We should have acquired a closer before the deadline, but that time has passed. Doc is a great leader and manager and he has to show it now. Time to make a change. It would be a monumental mistake to go into the post-season without a closer who is getting the job done.

  9. Lux at 2nd and Muncy and Freese at 1st seems to me like a no brainer. Then you have Cody in Right and Beaty in Left. Center can be Pollack and Verdugo with Taylor and Keke filling in at different positions when resting the regulars. Joc has had a bad habit of petering out at the end of seasons in the past. .230 hitting outfielders are not acceptable, which is why I’d rather see Beaty over Joc. We need to take the remaining regular season to conduct auditions for the best post-season closer. I can’t think of any recent World Series Champion team without a dominant closer.

    • Joc Pederson will be a FA after the 2020 season, and that makes me believe Dodgers will attempt to move him this off season, but he by himself will not bring much of a return since he would be in his ‘walk’ year.

  10. Kelly should be given the closer role now to build his confidence. May said he doesn’t like closing. Gonsolin maybe? Lux shouldn’t have been traded. I agree about Roberts being too faithful to Jansen,Barnes and Kiki.

  11. My first point is how many of you were advocating that Kelly be sent down or traded just a short 2 months ago? Second, in the situation, Taylor should have pulled up and let the ball fall in for a single, not trying to make the highlight reel. Third, remember Pedro gave up a home run in the 8th that allowed the Padres to close to within a run.

    At this point in the season, I too am very concerned about the closer, but we need to take a step back and let the FO and Mgt figure this out. I don’t think we need a dedicated closer currently (This would destroy the chemistry in the clubhouse – let’s instead go for a closer by committee (Kelly, Baez, Jensen) depending on the situation and win this thing!

    Finally, Remember what Tommy Lasorda said years ago; “Every team will win a third of their games, and lose a third of their games. The difference is what they do with the last third” A win is a win, let’s take that and get on the plane to Phoenix and clinch this thing!!!!!

  12. How about a compromise? If we have a one-run lead, hand the ball to Joe Kelly. If we have a 2-run (or more) lead, Kenley gets the ball.

  13. Folks, I am on board with what the posters above here are saying, but the problem is Robert’s stubbornness about keeping KJ as the closer no matter what. But the problem is not Roberts alone, but also the problem lies with his puppet master Freidman from above who no doubt is calling most of the shots during the games. .

    • Paul………I DO NOT buy that “puppet master” Freidman rumoring thing……….we have no idea what makes “Dave” do the things he does unless he tells us.

      • Bluz1st, I honestly didn’t originate that idea and correct you are on us really not knowing that .. But some posters and even media people covering MLB indicate that in today’s game that may be common place as far as FO having a hand in the daily decision making as far as lineups and in game managing. However, the fact we ALL can agree on is that Roberts must stop running KJ out there in these close game situations because like you I KNEW that a 1 run lead was not the time to bring Kenley in that game. and if FO is not intervening, what Roberts has done and may continue to do does not make this situation any better. I honestly don’t believe we have much of a chance against either the Yankees or Astros should Dodgers be able to get to the WS again. Neither the Yanks or Astros have to constantly shuffle their lineups the way the Dodgers do just because a LHP is going.

  14. Jansen has been terrible since the Houston WS when they hit him at will. He lost his confidence which is deadly for a closer. The Island boys don’t have much get up and go as well so it’s probably not n his DNA to fight back. I watch every Dodger game and listen to Orel sing the praises of the pen. However they are great against the poorer teams but as like last night, a lead, a homer and Hansen blows it. In the playoffs we will be out with this staff.

    • “Island boys”? You’re classifying a whole group people based on KJ’s poor performance. Better ask “Island Boy” Tim Duncan about his failed NBA career…weird comment.
      Back to the real topic, I agree with the posters who recommend the closer by committee option. Roberts has to get over this stupid loyalty crap and play the best players in any given situation. Also, Sadler has looked good all year so he needs to be a part of the conversation.

    • The fact that he wears number 74 means our title chances lie in his hands as long as he’s on this team. Unfortunately we don’t know if and when he’ll be given the green light to have us win it all

  15. Making it my business to watch all the teams we could possibly play in the post.
    It has become abundantly clear that the forgone conclusion bolstered by early Vegas oddsmakers that the Dodgers will be there at the end to fight for a long overdue ring is very shaky. Very shaky indeed.
    Quite honestly, I don’t think the team matches up with any of them that well, considering the way the lineup and pitching is trending presently.
    Jansen simply can’t get it done anymore, and the biggest detriment to LA success, is the manager/ FO.
    I don’t claim to know who the big button pusher is, or are, but whether Dave or the FO, or combination thereof, it’s clumsy and inept now.
    The maddeningly stubborn insistence on Joc as ” leadoff ” hitter alone is enough of a not so subtle clue to probably experiencing another heartbreak.

  16. He should use Urias more often when comes back. I think the kid can take over even a starter job if nothing else a closer but the idiot Roberts does not give him a chance

  17. Jensen is a great guy no doubt but. judging by past performances lately he’s clearly not a closer anymore,. fans should be excited to see a closer come in to get the job done. not cross their fingers and start to prayer when they see him come in

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