Dodgers: Kenley Jansen’s spring training debut sat the haters down real quick
The Los Angeles Dodgers faced off against the division-rival Colorado Rockies during their second spring training game on Monday in Trevor Bauer’s debut.
The right-hander was phenomenal, twirling two scoreless innings while looking like he was in midseason form.
Once he was done, however, manager Dave Roberts wanted to make sure Kenley Jansen saw some action before the Rockies began taking out their “starters” — their lineup was already awful heading into this one.
So Jansen was brought in to face the “heart” of the order, which was Josh Fuentes, Greg Bird and Elias.
The result? Carnage.
Think again if you were doubting Jansen starting off the year as the team’s closer, because he was absolutely flawless.
No, he wasn’t facing the best of lineups and it’s “only spring training,” but please, tell us what happens if he gives up a walk and a home run here? What are the fans saying then?
In ANY scenario, we’ll take nine pitches, nine strikes, two Ks and three outs. At the very least, the veteran right-hander has this to build off of as the spring continues. His confidence was arguably at an all-time low at the end of the 2020 season — which, for him, culminated with that disastrous Game 4 loss in the World Series — so any shred of production is positive at this point.
And speaking of Bauer, he seems to have rubbed off a bit on Jansen. Perhaps he’s been amping him up with his high energy.
If you can find one “flaw” on this Dodgers team, it’s the security on the back end of their bullpen. The unit overall is solid, but there’s no surefire option they can comfortably say they’re unquestionably backing in a save situation ever since Jansen’s started to decline a bit.
What does that mean? A rebound season from Jansen makes the Dodgers even more of a juggernaut in their quest to repeat as World Champions. At the moment, the start of Jansen’s journey is looking good. But fans will no doubt be keeping tabs on him over the course of the next few months.
Bring us a semblance of 2017 Jansen, when he pumped a league-leading 41 saves and maintained a 1.32 ERA and 0.75 WHIP with 109 strikeouts across 68.1 innings. Then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a team that could threaten the Dodgers’ current reign.