Heading into Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the third of their four-game series, the Los Angeles Dodgers last held a lead in the ninth inning on June 3. However, whereas Kenley Jansen would normally be handed the ball, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was forced to use other options as Jansen was unavailable.
In the aftermath of the Colorado Rockies’ walk-off win that night, Jansen was said to have been out of commission due to illness. Details of Jansen having an elevated blood pressure, headaches and feeling nauseated were provided the next day by the closer and Mattingly.
With the Dodgers holding a 2-0 lead over the Cardinals, Jansen returned to the mound Saturday night for the first time since being medically cleared on Thursday.
The hard-throwing right-hander picked up where he left off, retiring the side in order and converting his sixth save in as many opportunities. While Jansen said he feels a responsibility to close out any game he enters, he acknowledged there was a little extra motivation given the performance Clayton Kershaw turned in.
“Definitely with your ace, yes,” he said. “You do want to do everything you can for him.” Jansen also added facing a team of the caliber of the Cardinals provided was a motivating factor to pitch well.
As for the scare in Colorado, the Curaçao native said he’s feeling 100 percent and reiterated pitching in that environment has historically given him trouble. The Dodgers hope to be in position to again call on Jansen Sunday night as they look for a series split that will help them avoid losing a home series for the first time since August of 2014.