Kenley Jansen blew his third save of the season and took the loss in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ walk-off loss to the San Diego Padres Friday.
The following day, Jansen was in the bullpen early to work on his mechanics. The work may have paid off as Jansen entered Saturday’s game again with a two-run lead.
Although he allowed a single, Jansen kept the Padres at bay as the Dodgers won the game to set up a rubber match with the series on the line. Prior to Saturday’s win, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt discussed what may be ailing the Dodgers’ closer, via Pedro Moura of the OC Register:
He’s gotta get his release point a little bit better, so the ball has that cutting action,” Honeycutt said. “His hand has been a little bit late at times. It’s usually a timing issue for him.”
Honeycutt added more critique of Jansen, specifically his pitch location:
The walks were up early, but those have been cut down lately. If anything, he’s throwing too many balls in the zone. When balls are put into play against Kenley, it’s pretty much a situation of too many balls in the middle of the plate.”
Jansen saved 25 games for the Dodgers in 2012, 28 in 2013 after supplanting Brandon League and is now up to 21 in 34 games pitched this season. One strength of Jansen’s has been his ability to put his troubles behind him.
Only once in his career has he blown consecutive saves, which occurred in 2012. Along with needing to improve and become more consistent in other facets of the game, the Dodgers also need Jansen to revert to the dominant form he showcased in 2013 if they hope to build on last season’s success.
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