To put it lightly, the Dodgers bullpen has certainly had its struggles throughout the 2019 season.
Two of the team’s biggest names in their relief department, Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen, have endured their fair share of criticism as the season has gone on.
Jansen believes, however, that the Dodgers bullpen will eventually take a turn for the better.
"Whenever me and Joe [Kelly] find it, this bullpen is going to take off. Joe is getting close, I'm getting close, once we find it consistently, this bullpen is gonna take off." — Kenley Jansen#Dodgers
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) July 20, 2019
Jansen feels that the bullpen can be a strength, even without any additions, but is open to some help.
We know who we are. It would be awesome to get another arm or two. We would love to have that. Andrew [Friedman] is doing his job, and he always figures out how to get us a good bullpen.
Early on, both Jansen and Kelly were performing well below the expectations the organization, and fans, had set for them going into the season.
Kelly seemed lost for the first month plus of the season but, despite a poor outing against the Phillies on Thursday, has recently found the type of stuff that led to the Dodgers signing him to a big contract this past off-season.
Kenley Trying to Get Right
Jansen on the other hand has been relatively inconsistent in each outing, leaving fans questioning which reliever they’ll get in every appearance.
When is the last time you felt comfortable with Kenley Jansen in the closer role?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) July 17, 2019
One must only look at his past few games to see that inconsistency on display.
On Tuesday in Philly, after a ninth inning rally which gave the Dodgers a late two-run lead, Jansen gave up three runs and the game on a bruised ankle in the bottom of the ninth. Then last night, he came in and shutdown the Miami Marlins to maintain a one run lead.
Unfortunately, that’s basically been the story of his 2019 season.
While Jansen is still an above average relief pitcher, it’s been awhile since he’s been elite consistently.
However, he’s ready to step it up.
Kenley Jansen had a Zlatan-like edge about him last night while striking out all three Marlins he faced: “Enough is enough. I’m sick and tired of getting beat around and talking at the end of the game (to the media) about different stuff."
— Doug Padilla (@DougPadilla) July 20, 2019
With Kenley “sick of getting beat around,” he wants to go out and “have fun again.” More from the Dodgers closer:
I’m just trying to have fun again and just trying to get that attitude again to put a stop to it when hitters are trying to hurt me out there. I’m sick and tired of it. Now is the time to just go get it and get what we want to get.
I’m not thinking about any mechanics, or any of that stuff anymore. Like I said, it’s enough. I just want to have fun again. I’m going to go out there to keep competing and keep getting better.
If both Kelly and Jansen are able to pitch at high levels at the same time, the Dodgers bullpen could become very dangerous. We’ll just have to wait and see, and hopefully the front office adds at least one or two useful pieces before the trade deadline on July 31.
Let us know what you think below!