Jansen Gets First Save as Dodgers Blank the Rockies


Kyle Kendrick comes out on the short end of a wonderful pitcher’s duel as Mike Bolsinger and the Dodgers defeat the Rockies 1-0.

Dodgers 1 3 0

Rockies 0 3 0

Bolsinger (W) Kendrick (L) Jansen (S)

I’m a firm believer that every game in baseball is important. One of my favorite managers when I was kid, Sparky Anderson, believed the season really didn’t start until May 15. I have friends who claim they love baseball but who don’t really begin paying attention until June. However you slice it, losing 3 out of 4 to the last place team in baseball is not the business no matter when it happens in the year.

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After a disappointing loss the previous night, where a fine performance by Zack Greinke (6 innings, 1 run) went down the drain due to lack of offense, the Dodgers returned today under lightly clouded blue skies looking to salvage a series split with the lowly Rockies. Entering the series (after dropping two to the Angels down in Anaheim) the Rockies were a baseball-worst 11-19. After taking two of the first three games at Dodger Stadium, Colorado was going for their first win of a 4-game series against L.A. since their inaugural year in 1993.

Spot-starter Mike Bolsinger took the mound for the third time looking to further solidify his spot in the starting rotation in Brandon McCarthy’s absence. He would take on Colorado’s Kyle Kendrick, a specialist at throwing junk balls in the mid 70s.

Both pitchers looked strong through the first third of the game forcing a mix of pop outs and weak grounders. The Dodgers did Colorado a favor when Justin Turner was thrown out trying to steal second with one out in the second inning after Turner grabbed the first hit of the game.

After tossing a 4-pitch 3rd inning and generally sailing smoothly through the first pass of the Dodger lineup, Kyle Kendrick finally got into some trouble in the fourth. With two out, Adrian Gonzalez singled to right-center. Justin Turner walked, and Yasmani Grandal also singled to right, scoring Gonzalez and giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead that would hold up the rest of the day.

May 12, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger (46) throws against the Miami Marlins during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies finally began to pick away at Bolsinger in the 5th inning. Nick Hundley started things off with a single to center. After Drew Stubbs flew out to right, Daniel Descalso singled to right with a chopper over Adrian Gonzalez’s glove, sending Hundley all the way to third. Kyle Kendrick struck out before Charlie Blackmon, who had already struck out twice in the game, promptly struck out again to end the threat. Not only did Blackmon strike out, he was also thrown out of the game for arguing with home plate umpire Marty Foster over the called second strike of his at-bat.

Bolsinger completed yet another superb outing, going 6 innings with no runs on only 3 hits, sinking his way a little deeper in the starting rotation. After three starts this year, the 6’1” Texan is holding an ERA of 1.04 across 17.1 innings. Kyle Kendrick didn’t fare much worse going 7 innings only allowing the one run on 3 hits as well.

After a few slip-ups this past week, the bullpen appeared to be back to its vintage 2015 self. Yimi Garcia pitched one inning, collecting 2 strikeouts, as did hard-throwing Chris Hatcher.

The one new wrinkle to this 2015 edition of the bullpen is that Kenley Jansen has finally returned to his usual spot in the 9th inning looking to ring up the save. As I’ve noted before, the Dodgers have made no habit of winning low-scoring games this season, giving this one even more of an edge as Jansen stepped up to protect a fragile 1-0 lead. The Dodger closer got Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado to pop out in the infield and then blew away Wilin Rosario on 3 pitches, finishing him off swinging at a 96 mph fireball.

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  • After a tepid performance with yesterday’s rotated lineup, today’s group of first-choicers didn’t fare much better (I counted Joc Pederson grounding out to first about 28 times). In both games the Dodgers only scored one run but with vastly different outcomes. Disgruntled fans will point at Adrian Gonzalez’s absence last night and his involvement in the winning run tonight as proof that A-Gon need never sit out a game, especially so close to an off day. Others will point to the fact that Saturday night’s game was botched by the bullpen while today’s was a shimmering diamond.

    Either way we all hope the Dodgers can string together more than one run in each of the next three games beginning on Tuesday in San Francisco. It’s great to have Jansen back, but this could be another ugly series against The Hated Ones if the offense doesn’t begin to rekindle.

    Carlos Frias takes on Tim Hudson on Tuesday night.