Dodgers: Five Players Crucial for a Successful Postseason
By Jacob Rudner
You look at the numbers from the season and the immediate reaction should almost certainly be “that’s just not Kenley.”
If you think that way it is hard to argue with you as Jansen’s 2.78 ERA and 140 ERA+ suggest he is having a down season in a big way. But, because of his off-brand results from this campaign, a quick turnaround to his old form will be crucial to the Dodgers playoff success.
If you have watched the playoffs over the last few seasons, Kenley Jansen is the most used pitcher on the Dodgers roster. Since 2015, Jansen has pitched the most playoff innings on the Dodgers besides Clayton Kershaw and that includes other starters. He is often called upon to pitch multiple innings or even to come in as a momentum killer in the middle of games. His role is fluid and more important than ever regardless of what exactly he is doing.
So, with Kenley being such a go-to player, a successful postseason will be imperative to his team’s success.
Jansen will need to command the zone better. Since 2014, Kenley has not had a walks per nine innings rate of more than 1.5. This year, the 30-year old righty owns a 2.3 BB9 and it is costing him in the form of valuable pitches and it puts runners on base.
Second, Jansen will need to limit the home run. 2018 has been his worst year to date in terms of homers. In 2018, Kenley has surrendered 10 home runs, the most he has ever given up and the first time he has allowed a home run total into double digits. His previous high was six in 2012, ’13, and ’15.
But, if Kenley can find his consistent cutter, the pitch that has made him so famous, Dave Roberts will regain his most reliable pitcher and it will be a huge boost for a bullpen that certainly needs it.