Dodgers: Kenley Jansen’s vintage performance Sunday a great sign
By Adam Weinrib
How many Dodgers fans though they’d ever see this Kenley Jansen again?
Los Angeles played the “welcome home” series of their lives this past weekend, sweeping the best the Washington Nationals had to offer without the services of Mookie Betts or Cody Bellinger.
And, like the largest cherry of all time on the sloppiest sundae, Jansen put a fiery exclamation point on the effort with a vintage outing Sunday afternoon that defied all recent logic.
Forget Jansen’s first critical blown save of the season in Oakland. They happen. Fans (at least, most of them) weren’t worried about that game as some sort of outlier. They were nervous about years of regression, compounded by plenty of strong bullpen performer who could theoretically take Jansen’s place in the ninth inning.
On Sunday, though, we saw Jansen throw like he hadn’t in…years?
Certainly, this breezy inning was the least sweaty he’s had in a while, and his trademark cutter was absolutely dancing.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was back to peak form on Sunday.
As long as the Dodgers are breezing through the competition like this, then there’s absolutely no reason to remove Jansen from the closer role.
This was always bound to be an emotional year for the team’s long-time stopper. He entered it blending the abject joy of finally securing that elusive ring with the knowledge that his struggles contributed to extending the series, a devastating Game 4 performance still lingering. This will also be his final year under contract in Los Angeles, and his future — both in this city, and at his long-time position — remains undefined.
For one day on Sunday, though, Jansen was perfectly electric. And the league took notice.
It’s not than Jansen now must perform to this level every time he takes the mound or he’ll be forced to relinquish the closer role to Corey Knebel or Blake Treinen. It’s that we now know that something we feared was impossible is instead very much possible.
Now that we’ve seen Jansen’s cutter dominate like this, the league has once again been put on notice. Reset that “Dodgers Flaws Counter” back to zero. This season will be something special from every angle.