Unexpectedly, the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has not been the strength many anticipated it to be this season.
Coinciding with the group of relievers, which includes a few new arrivals, working to settle into a their respective roles, came losses. However the struggles weren’t limited to the fresh faces in the bullpen.
Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson weren’t their usual selves and an injury to Chris Withrow further clouded the bullpen situation. Jansen recently blew his third save of the season, to bring his total one shy of how many he had last season in 75 games.
However, the closer has since worked on his mechanics and rebounded to record four consecutive saves. Speaking prior to Saturday’s game, manager Don Mattingly shared his belief that Jansen’s work has warranted a spot on the All-Star team, according to AM 570’s David Vassegh:
Don Mattingly said he thinks Kenley Jansen has earned a spot on All-Star team
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) June 28, 2014
Entering Saturday, Jansen’s 24 saves is tied for second in the Majors and two behind Milwaukee Brewers’ closer Francisco Rodriguez. Jansen and Rodriguez have blown the same number of saves, but Rodriguez has the edge in WHIP, 0.90 to Jansen’s 1.34, and ERA, 2.40 compared to 4.01.
Jansen is second on the Dodgers with 37 games pitched and third in innings pitched with 33.2. He’s well in the lead with 56 strikeouts, but has also allowed the second-most earned runs, 15.
After some spot duty in 2012, the power right-hander took over closing duties full-time last season as Brandon League continuously struggled in the role.
Although Jansen may have rectified his issues, general manager Ned Colletti views the bullpen as unsettled, wants to address it and is cognizant of the approaching trade deadline.
While Jansen is unlikely to be traded, he may first find out if he’s been named to the NL All-Star team prior to knowing if he’ll have a new teammate beside him in the bullpen.
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