The Dodgers are headed to the playoffs for the 8th consecutive time dating back to 2013. With a revamped lineup and an outstanding pitching staff, fans are hoping this year ultimately yields a World Series title.
But in order for them to reach that pinnacle, the Dodgers will have to have key players locked in. One of those guys is Kenley Jansen. For the last two years, Jansen has pitched with varying results in the postseason. He shut down the Braves and Brewers in the 2018 NLDS and NLCS but got rocked in the World Series. He also had two perfect appearances in a very short 2019 NLDS.
Even with the ups and downs of his last two seasons, MLB’s Ken Gurnick wants everyone to accept Jansen for what he is. Gurnick, a Dodgers writer, talked briefly about Kenley in his latest playoff predictions.
Speaking of relievers, quit blaming closer Kenley Jansen for everything and accept him for what he still is – one of the best in the business, even if he’s not what he was three years ago. He’s not Mariano Rivera. Get over it. There’s plenty of blame to lay before the game ever gets to Jansen.
In Gurnick’s eyes, Kenley has been one of the best closers in all of baseball. I would argue that he WAS one of the best in 2017 when he dominated the league and saved 41 games in 42 opportunities. Since then, he’s been unpredictable, and that’s not something you love to see out of the Dodgers’ bullpen.
To his credit, Kenley is pitching better in 2020 than he has in a while. His 3.03 FIP is the best mark since 2017, even if his xFIP says differently. His average exit velocity of 82.7 mph lands him in the top 1 percent of the league, and his xwOBA of .255 also puts him near the top of all pitchers in baseball. The Dodgers closer has revamped his mechanics, and it’s shown.
If he can find his 2017 success again, the Dodgers could easily walk into the World Series. It’s now just a question of ‘if’.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, interviews, live streams, and more! You can also subscribe to our Blue Heaven podcast for the latest in sports news and discussion.