Dodgers fans had to watch another shaky performance from Kenley Jansen in the postseason last night. Yes, his numbers have been pretty good in the playoffs for most of his career. But it’s often the way he gets it done that has fans nervous every time they hear California Love blasting through the stadium speakers.
Last night’s win over the Padres was one of the worst playoff appearances that we’ve seen from Kenley in a while. After striking out Will Myers to start the 9th, things unraveled quickly for Jansen and the Dodgers. Two more clutch hits by the Padres resulted in Dave Roberts having to go to Joe Kelly to get the final out of the game.
Kelly was asked about Kenley’s struggle in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. The Dodgers’ reliever made it a point that Kenley wasn’t concerned with what inning he pitched in. Instead, he thinks Kenley is just in pursuit of a ring, like everyone else on the team.
Kenley is my catch partner, he’s my locker mate, and we have some good conversations. And there are some times where he needs a little bit of a kick in the butt, but there are some times where everyone needs to be picked up. And right now, Kenley knows we all want a ring, and that’s all we’re looking forward to. So it doesn’t matter who is pitching…
In terms of how he’s handling it, Joe felt that Kenley will be ready to go when his name was called. He did NOT think the Dodgers closer would be unwilling to accept a role outside of the closing position.
Kenley is taking it well. Obviously, he doesn’t like underperforming but he’s a mentally tough guy. Like I said he’s catch partner, he’s my locker mate. His numbers are still showing good numbers…we pick each other up and that’s what championship teams do. It’s not like he’s sitting around his locker right now pouting. He’s fine, he knows the deal. He knows we have so many good players on this team. and it’s not like he’s going to be like ‘Hey I’m not going to pitch if I don’t pitch the 9th’, he’s a good teammate and he’s taking it like a man, he knows he hasn’t thrown the ball his best. Whenever we need him, he’s going to be right there for us.
Whatever the case, the Dodgers are obviously in need of some stability in the later innings this postseason. Whoever that actually is remains to be seen. Dave Roberts was non-committal when asked whether or not Jansen would continue to get put into high-leverage situations.