Dave Roberts faced the inevitable questions about Kenley Jansen after the Dodgers’ closer gave up the final three runs in Friday’s 8-5 loss to the Giants. Much has been made of Jansen pitching on back-to-back days. Roberts believes there was a more important factor in Jansen’s poor outing on Friday night.
LaMonte and Longo took it back in the 10th. pic.twitter.com/LpsfEEK4t7
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) May 29, 2021
“For me, he was too concerned about the runner at second base. It just sped up his delivery too much. I don’t think it was more the back-to-back, as opposed to trying to be too quick and not picking up his target. That led to inconsistencies of the throw.”
Roberts is well aware of Jansen’s inability to hold runners on. In 22.1 innings pitched through Friday, Jansen leads the team in stolen bases allowed (8). Roberts and his coaching staff have continued to work with the relievers on limited the run game, but Kenley is who he is. He’s always had a slow, albeit powerful, delivery to home plate.
One can appreciate Roberts supporting a veteran by citing the extra inning inserted runner as the main cause of failure. However, it’s something that every team has to deal with. Traffic on the bases has always bothered Kenley.
On a positive note, Jansen still put together a strong May campaign. He has logged seven saves, tied for second for the month through Friday. Those two earned runs against the Giants were his first earned runs in May. Moreover, Jansen hasn’t allowed a home run since April 26th and has rediscovered some velocity.
Doc knows that Jansen needs extra rest to perform well. Friday night was Roberts testing Jansen. Roberts wanted to know if the momentum from Jansen’s last eight productive outings could carry Kenley through back-to-back appearances.
Luckily for Roberts and Jansen, inherited runners don’t exist in the month of October.