2017 NLCS: Kenley Jansen Differs From Clayton Kershaw And Dave Roberts On Revenge Factor For Dodgers
Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, Dave Roberts
Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs played to six games in the 2016 National League Championship Series, there immediately were whispers of anticipation over another meeting in 2017. Now one year later, each team held up their end of the bargain.

It was not without the Cubs cutting it close, however, as they were forced to a decided Game 5 in the NL Division Series by the Washington Nationals. Conversely, the Dodgers swept the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks.

Multiple Dodgers remarked they tuned in to at least part of the elimination game, if nothing else to learn the identity of their next opponent. Human nature would point toward the Dodgers pulling for the Cubs in order to avenge last year’s loss to the defending world champions.

That is exactly the mindset Kenley Jansen revealed when asked if he wished to face the Cubs instead of the Nationals, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“To be honest with you – yes. Why not?” Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen admitted. “If we want to win a championship, why not? Take down the champs. That’s the team to beat.”

Jansen’s viewpoint differed from that of his manager. After defeating the Diamondbacks in Game 3, Dave Roberts said he didn’t have a preference for an opponent. “I don’t think we really cared who we faced,” Roberts reiterated on the eve of the NLCS beginning.

“They’re a good ballclub. So are the Nationals. So I think everyone’s got their own opinions. But I really wasn’t rooting for one particular team.”

Roberts did align with Jansen on the notion of needing to eliminate the 2016 World Series winners in order to capture the title this season. “I guess they say to win a championship you’ve got to go through the current champions,” Roberts said. “So it’s going to be a fun series.”

Clayton Kershaw gets the first crack at the Cubs, a team he had mixed results against in the 2016 NLCS. But whether Chicago or Washington, his focus would remain unchanged. “I think we want to win this series. We want to go to the World Series,” Kershaw said.

“We didn’t get to do that last year, and the Cubs were the reason why. No doubt about it, we know that. But if the Nationals won this, I’d be saying the same thing. I don’t hold grudges, it’s not billboard material for me or bulletin board material that we’ve got to get revenge on the Cubs.”

Kershaw did echo Jansen’s sentiment that Roberts also shared. “But they were the best team last year, and until somebody beats them, they’re the best team,” the Dodgers ace said. “So we’ve got to go get them.”

Kershaw struggled some in his Game 1 start, while Jansen did his part by recording a four-out save, striking out each batter, to add to the bullpen’s impressive work on the night. Jansen then kept the Cubs off the board in Game 2 to set the table for Justin Turner’s walk-off home run.