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Dodgers: The Mystery of Kenley Jansen’s Role Escalates With His 6th Inning Appearance

Getting the 6th inning might have been just the thing Kenley needed.



It’s tough to watch Kenley Jansen struggle like he has this postseason. Dodgers fans know just how good he can be when he’s on, and that he can be the difference-maker in the playoffs.. Unfortunately, he hasn’t really been that for a few years. 

After his meltdown against the Padres in the Division Series, the Dodgers sort of eased off of using him. Until tonight, he hadn’t pitched in an entire week. But Dave Roberts did something with Kenley that he has never done before, and it had the sports world buzzing. Up 14 runs in the 6th inning, Jansen got to pitch. When asked about that move, Doc just said that he wanted to get him a chance to work things out. 

Kenley and I are great, we’ve always been great. I was really pleased with the way he threw the baseball…Just to give him an opportunity to pitch as he has been working through some delivery stuff and to see how it plays to major league hitters. That’s beneficial for everyone. So I was just really happy with the outing.

Kenley came in and induced 3 quick outs on 10 pitches. To say that it’s been a rollercoaster for Jansen and the Dodgers would be fair. Just a few days ago, Roberts admitted that the team would do whatever it needed to win. While he didn’t say that meant taking him out of the closer role, it sure felt like it. 

I understand, and I’m very sensitive to what he has accomplished on the baseball field as a closer, as a premium All-Star. But we also have to look at real-time and do what’s best for the Dodgers, and he understands that. When he gets the baseball, I’m going to expect him to get those outs. And he expects the same.

Just because Kenley got mop-up duty on Wednesday doesn’t mean that his role as closer for the Dodgers is dead and gone. Still, Roberts bringing him in that position during playoffs is telling. We’ll have to see how it plays out over the next few days with Jansen in the 9th inning. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. I think they’re trying to get him to mix up his pitches. He was throwing high 4-seam fastballs. This worked during the regular season, against hitters sitting on the cutter. He needs to continue this. Then, mix in the cutter.

  2. Those 1-2-3 clean inning outs were a joke. Two of the three were rockets off the bat, with one being a homerun if it were in Dodger Stadium. Bragging about how good this was is to lose all credibility with your reporting.

  3. Agreed. Brook must have been watching a different game. There is no mystery about where Kenley should be in the rotation. He is exactly where he should be. He was a great reliever but Father Time has passed him by. Roberts needs to forget about using him in any clutch situations. Unfortunately Roberts was unwilling to acknowledge Kenleys decline last year and this year and so we do not have an established closer for the playoffs.

  4. Yeah that was not a good inning for Jansen. Velocity was down location was bad. It should have reinforced that Dodgers don’t want Jansen anywhere near 9th inning.

  5. If ROBERTS were able to listen to the broadcast statement made by SMOLTZ he was saying the movement on JANSENS pitches were not there and as he gets older Jansens needs to find something better, maybe adjustments in his repertoire, in which I feel is not overly abundant, Smoltz by no means was putting Jansen down , only stating the movement was not where it should be, Smoltz actually praised Jansen of his past performances and in a way felt bad for him. ANWAYS ,Paul was right in any other Ball Park that is a Home Run ,Jansen cannot come in a close game any longer, ( 14 run lead is perfect) JANSEN. should leave with class and dignity because he is torturing us and his teammates, I would wish him well, I mean that sincerely.

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