Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen earned his 33rd save of the season on Saturday. He entered to lock down a 2-run lead against the lowly Giants of San Francisco in an otherwise meaningless game for Los Angeles. Sure the win tied them for the most wins in franchise history, but in the immediate focus, it didn’t mean much.
He ultimately struck out the side and allowed no runs, but the first two base runners got on via a hit by pitch and a walk. When the first two runners reach, nerves start to set in for Dodger fans.
5 days left until the playoffs start and we’re still seeing Jansen struggling. This should end well
— Jonmetal 824 | #FREELOONA (@Road2Arkadia) September 28, 2019
While Kenley got the job done, manager Dave Roberts was of course asked about his closer after the game. In this case, Jansen’s focus.
The confidence is there for me when the mindset is right. I don’t want to say he was disinterested and there are things outside that bleed into his head and thought process. But we’ve talked numerous times. It should have no bearing on him going out there. — via Bill Plunkett, OC Register
Watching Kenley all season long, there are definitely moments where you can pick out the lack of focus, chiefly in meaningless games. And with that said, all season long the excuses have been plentiful. Now, Roberts says no more.
This is a time when there are no excuses. It’s going out there and leaving it all out there. That’s what I expect from him. His teammates do. So I’ve seen that. When I see that, I’m certain that good things are going to happen for him and for us.
Ultimately “good things” did happen on Saturday for the Dodgers — Jansen did his job and saved Hyun-Jin Ryu’s gem — but the next time he gets into a game to save a lead, it’s not likely going to come against a team LA has a 27 game advantage over.
With Saturday being his likely final tune up before postseason play, Kenley finishes his season with a 5-3 record, 33 saves, but with 8 blown saves and a career high 3.71 ERA in 62 games.