Dodgers: Don’t go blaming Kenley Jansen for blown series finale vs Athletics
Los Angeles Dodgers fans are understandably triggered now when Kenley Jansen enters any game in the ninth inning.
Look no further than how Game 4 of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays turned out.
But there’s no need to get on his case at the onset of 2021.
The right-hander looked good in spring training and is hoping to put the last two seasons behind him and help the Dodgers get back to the World Series.
He’d be an easy target to blame for LA’s brutal 4-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics in Wednesday’s series finale, but he should be the last person anyone’s pointing fingers at.
Dodgers fans need to lay off Kenley Jansen after Wednesday’s loss.
Though Jansen’s job is to quite literally save the team from themselves in games when they’re this close, the veteran was on back-to-back duty for the first time all season, and the first batter he had to face was Matt Chapman.
Jansen’s velocity was down and his control was off. He needs to be eased into these back-to-backs after 2020 put every MLB pitcher in a tough spot with the shortened season and the stoppage after spring training. Everyone’s struggling to build themselves back up to where they once were.
Plus, the pitch Elvis Andrus got lumber on to get the tying run across the plate was … absurd. How did he even make contact?
We can also point to other junctures of the game that should be characterized as colossal missed opportunities. The Dodgers went 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position and left 14 runners on base. They failed to chase Jesus Luzardo after working his pitch count over 50 through the first two innings.
Later in the game, specifically in the fourth inning, they let Ramon Laureano steal second, third and home. That tied the game at 1-1. Then, in the seventh inning (don’t even get us started on them allowing Sergio Romo to get out of that fame), when Trevor Bauer’s pitch count was nearing 100, manager Dave Roberts opted to keep him in against the A’s best hitter. What happened?
An absolute tank. Bauer tossed an admirable game, but why not go to a well-rested bullpen, which only used FOUR relievers over the last two days, especially when you have the day off on Thursday? Sure, Bauer’s an ace so he can theoretically handle pitching deep into games, but this was his second start of the year, and we saw what happened when he got fatigued in Colorado during his debut.
So before you start using Jansen as the scapegoat for this early-season loss, just remember that the Dodgers probably should’ve never been in this position — nor was it prudent to use Jansen on a back-to-back — after having the A’s on the ropes for the duration of the game.