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Dodgers Kenley Jansen’s Lack of Progress Beginning to Show

You really hope to see Kenley get himself right, but it hasn’t been easy in 2019.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

We wish this was a “beating a dead horse” situation, but the horse keeps getting back up. And by horse, I mean struggles with Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

The 31 year-old has struggled with bad luck and big hits in bad situations for what seems like all season long. Now, after blowing 3 saves in August alone (MLB says it should be 4), the Jansen rhetoric has reached a fever pitch.

First, let’s look back at key moments from the big man’s 2019 season…

What is the Dodgers Backup Plan if Kenley Jansen Never Returns to His Pre-2018 Form?

Dodgers: Examining Kenley Jansen’s Struggles

Dodgers and Kenley Jansen Appear Divided over Pitch Selection

Dodgers: Should Eric Gagne’s Career Make Us Worry About Kenley Jansen?

Dodgers News: Mechanical Changes Bring Kenley Jansen Success

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Is Still Elite, But He Needs To Be Rested

Dodgers News: Kenley Jansen Provides an Update on Status of Ankle Injury

Dodgers Dave Roberts: Wheels Came Off with Kenley Jansen in Win Over Nationals

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Remains Calm Despite Fans’ Increasing Worry

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen is Looking For More Work

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Trying to Embrace His New Role

Dodgers: Dave Roberts Remains Committed to Kenley Jansen

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Ties Career High in Blown Saves

The intentional balk brought us all a laugh, but hid the underlying issue of Kenley’s mental block with runners on base.

Dodgers News: Kenley Jansen Balks On Purpose

Of course, Jansen has been outspoken about trying to improve this season. In fact, he even started that talk ahead of spring training.

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen is Reportedly Infatuated with Spin Rate

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Credits Facebook Video With Resurgence

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Believes Bullpen Will Improve, With or Without Trades

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Working on Delivery After Recent Struggles

Dodgers Kenley Jansen Admits to Issues that Get Him in Trouble to ESPN

However, with struggles comes questions… and often times he’s been unfortunately (but understandably) grumpy about the process.

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Comments On Possibility of Craig Kimbrel Joining Bullpen

Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Comments On All-Star Snub

As we sit here on August 29th, the simple fact is that Kenley Jansen is not right. However, this team needs Kenley to get right — he needs it for himself too. In the interim, perhaps it’s time that the Dodgers look at another arm in save situations while KJ works in lower leverage to salvage his confidence.

Dodgers: It May Be Joe Kelly’s Time to Close While Jansen Gets Right

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.

2 Comments

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  1. If Kenley isn’t hurt then what’s the problem? Mechanics and pitch selection should be easy fixes, unless he’s too stubborn, prideful or whatever to make the simple changes. He did start going downhill after his heart problem so maybe it’s mental. Bottom line, they can keep running him out there during the season but if they might use someone else to close (Kelly,Baez, Urias, Stadler), they need to give them a chance to pitch in the 9th inning.

    I’d like to think that if the playoffs started tonight and we had a close situation Doc would call on somebody other than Kenley. So bottom line he needs to be moved to 7th and 8th inning and if he gets it together, great. But if Kenley loses a playoff game the fans are going to be PISSED!

  2. I heard this bad luck thing and it’s funny because in a blown save 2 games ago he hit a batter, walked a batter gave up a single then a bloop double. Interesting any kind of bad luck hit in an outing and it’s not his fault because of the bloop double. A dominant pitcher makes the batter miss. We saw Chapman as a real closer on the Yankees blow the dodgers away. There’s the guy the dodgers almost had and because Jansen pouted to be the closer he is on the Yanks and performing well. Just maybe we have 2 WS wins with a closer like Chapman.

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