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Dodgers World Series: Dave Roberts Talks Kenley Jansen and the Closer’s Role

Kenley seems to be regaining the trust of his manager, one 95 MPH fastball at a time.



The Dodgers have been playing some inspired baseball this October, and a big part of that has been the late resurgence of Kenley Jansen.

The long time LA closer had his fair share of struggles throughout the regular season, which led to questions surrounding his role come playoff time. And while things got off to a shaky start during the first two rounds, his last few appearances have definitely impressed Dave Roberts.

I think he’s certainly cleaned up his delivery. I know he was fired up to get back in the game, it was 5 days [in between appearances]. It was really good, I thought it was a very positive outing.

It has definitely been a welcome sight to see Kenley rack up some strikeouts throughout the postseason after watching his velocity dip for most of the regular season. Much like the rest of us, Roberts was also quite pleased when he saw Jansen throwing a steady 93 MPH and even reaching 95 at one point.

That was welcome to see. The 86 [MPH] or whatever it was before, that checked me up. It really did. And it was good to hear that it wasn’t physical, it was kind of delivery, which resonated with me. And Kenley’s worked so hard to get back and being open to different spots… I thought that the body of work last night was as good as he’s had in my recent memory.

With the way that he has pitched since essentially losing the closer role against the Padres, some have begun to wonder if the team will return to using him primarily in the 9th. Don’t expect a concrete answer from Dave Roberts, however, as he was just as cryptic as ever.

You know what, I think its just that he’s back in the high leverage. I just don’t want to kind of put him in a corner or in a box. I think it’s best for all of us that you just have the option to deploy him whenever you want. I think it’s a good thing not only for himself, but also for his teammates the guys in the ‘pen to give them the best runs to, so we’ll see.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, a healthy and confident Kenley Jansen can only be considered good news for LA. With the other arms that they have available in the bullpen, this only adds to the weapons at Roberts’ disposal to close out the series.

Kenley Jansen has been a key member of the Dodgers’ core for the past decade and has been through many ups and downs throughout those years. As the franchise’s all-time leader in saves, the one thing missing from his resume is a World Series title. Here’s hoping that he can cross that off by Sunday evening.

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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    • Although I will continue to believe that our Dodgers can pull this off and win the World Series, I have repeatedly said (as have others) that I do not want to see Jansen in the 9th inning. Its perplexing to me why Roberts would not only place him in the 9th inning, but put him in the 9th inning of a high leverage (1 run lead & back and forth WORLD SERIES) game. I expected to see Graterol close the game last night. Regardless, that was a tough loss and we need an immediate reset. Glasnow has something to prove; so, we need Kershaw to put in another amazing performance and our offense to (continue to) find a way. As importantly, we need Roberts to make some really good decisions that will help put us ahead tonight. GO DODGERS!!!

  1. Kenleys been horrible and a Roberts should know it. Kenley missed Will Smiths target at least 80% of the time tonight. Been missing in other games too, just been lucky that hard hits have gone at our players. Tonight’s winning hit, tgt was high, pitch nicely in middle @92.

  2. Is it just me, I’m seeing exactly zero breaks on almost all of Kenley’s pitches? The deadly slider that made him famous is AWOL as well as every other breaking ball he throws. His fastball is a banquet anymore.
    I love Kenley but if he wants to stay in the game maybe he should just be used in the mid innings as pure relief, when we have a decent lead. I’ve lost all confidence in him getting a job, any job done.

  3. Just one comment. Look at all the hard hit balls off his pitches. A reliver can not have that with out getting into trouble. Doc, I hope has learned his lesson on Jensen in the 9th. inning.

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