In the eighth inning of Monday night’s game, the Los Angeles Dodgers took a lead on an Andre Ethier home run that prompted closer Kenley Jansen to begin to warm up. The Dodgers ended up scoring three more runs, making it a non-save situation and Jansen sat down in favor of Chris Hatcher.
Hatcher ended up giving up a double and a single, causing manager Don Mattingly to bring in his closer. Jansen got the next three hitters out and closed things out for the Dodgers. While he wasn’t credited with a save, Jansen came through in a big way. Since his return from the disabled list, the right-hander has made five appearances and saved four games. He has nine strikeouts in five total innings.
After Monday’s game, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis talked about the closer role in general. “There’s not that many guys around baseball who’ve been able to close multiple years in a row. It’s a fickle position. Guys are kind of in and out of that closer role. There’s a guy in San Diego [Craig Kimbrel] who does it really well. Kenley has done it. It’s his third or fourth year doing it,” Ellis said. Jansen has saved 97 games in the past three seasons and continues to be the team’s closer.
Ellis went on about Jansen and talked about what makes him successful. “He’s unfazed out there. Anything that happens, he comes into the game and he’s got that same demeanor no matter what,” the 34-year-old catcher added.
“He knows what he wants to do and the best thing about him is that if something does happen, he’s got one of the best short-term memories of any relief pitcher I’ve ever been around. He’s a guy that we have the utmost confidence in. It’s an eight-inning game if we have a lead most times,” Ellis said.
The Dodgers were waiting for Jansen to return from injury in order to solidify and set their bullpen. Since his return, he’s been nothing short of impressive and will be a key piece to the team’s success.
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