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.
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.