Dodgers Series Recap: Should Kenta Maeda be Sent to the Bullpen?

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SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 5: Kenta Maeda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park May 5, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 5: Kenta Maeda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park May 5, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – MAY 5: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks back to the mound after loading the bases during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park May 5, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Kenley Jansen is searching for control

Kenley Jansen blew his second save of the season on Sunday making him 12-14 in save opportunities in 2019.  While he is allowing two home runs per nine innings which is significantly up from his career average of 0.8, the issue is not Jansen’s stuff or velocity.  Kenley is averaging 12.4 K/9IP this season which is just slightly under his career norm of 13.4.  The main issue for Jansen has been his control.

Jansen has always been known for his pinpoint control.  In 2017 he walked just seven batters the entire season and had a walk rate of 0.9 walks per nine.  This season, Kenley has been unable to locate his cutter as he has in previous seasons.  Often times you will see Barnes set up at one spot in the strike zone and the cutter goes to the opposite side of where Barnes or Martin are asking for the pitch.

Sunday’s walk-off home run came on another poorly spotted pitch.  Barnes asked for the ball to be inside to jam Renfroe but the cutter leaked across the middle of the plate, leaving Hunter with a hanging cutter that he blasted into the left field stands.  Jansen has had good stuff this season, but he needs to find the signature control that once had him in the debate for the best closer in baseball.

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