The Dodgers have just clinched their sixth division title in a row with a 5-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. The title comes after an amazingly competitive month, where the Rockies knocked out 9 wins in a row and the Dodgers needed to sweep the hated San Francisco Giants IN San Francisco.
For a rare Game 163 the anxiety across Southern California was tense, but as soon as Cody Bellinger launched that two run blast into the right field pavilions, the fans began to build upon that spark to help drive the Dodgers home. Follow it up with another two run blast by Max Muncy and an RBI single from the kid, Walker Buehler and we’re headed into the top of the ninth feeling all types of California Love.
First up, Nolan Arenado, who we all know wants to do well in these types of games.
BOOM. A moon shot into left field.
The cheers quickly turn into a small mumble, like when the teacher calls you out amongst all your roudy classmates.
Next up, Trevor Story.
BOOM. Another shot to the opposite part of the stadium.
The small mumble turns into dead silence.
That’s just at the stadium. On twitter, where I was manning the twittercast, the pitch forks were pulled and torches were lit. The tweets were calling to pull him NOW, to leave him off the playoff roster, to fire Dave Roberts, but the absolute worst, were the comparisons to an old Pedro Baez! (Admittedly, I was one of those people with the Pedro Butterflies in my stomach after that first home run.)
With Kenley giving up his 13th home run of the season, which is more than twice his career high of 6, so it’s understandable the fans were a a little bit worried. The other issue to consider was that this was a non-save situation and it just seems that Kenley needs pressure to work.
The problem is that Kenley’s coming off his heart situation and it just seems he’s lost some of the rhythm he built up after his slow start to the season. Dave Roberts needs to get him into some games and non-save situations are the only opportunities in a tight division race.
The big questions now are if Dave Roberts or the Front Office trust Kenley in a save situation in the playoffs. There is no more time to get back up to speed. This is when Kenley is needed the most.
When asked by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
Media type: "What happened there in the ninth, Kenley?"#Dodgers Kenley Jansen: "What happened in the 9th? We won the division that's what happened."
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 2, 2018
What MLB Radio is already talking about:
What should the #Dodgers do with their closer position? Can Los Angeles win a World Series with Kenley Jansen pitching in the 9th?@CJNitkowski believes it is a tricky situation. pic.twitter.com/JRm9WcOQ2E
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) October 2, 2018
When we asked the fans on twitter:
How worried are you about The big guy @kenleyjansen74 this post season?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) October 2, 2018
Personally, I believe Kenley will come through in the upcoming big moments of this year’s playoffs. That’s not to say I’m going to be hiding behind the couch, watching the games through the cracks of my fingers. At the end of the day, I’m an optimist by nature and I just believe that Kenley and Rick Honeycutt will figure this all out very soon.