2020 NLDS: Dodgers May Alternate Closers, Use Kenley Jansen In Different Scenarios

After locking down his 17th career postseason save in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Game 1 win against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series, Kenley Jansen was passed over for another opportunity the following night.

Instead, Brusdar Graterol was given the ball in the ninth inning of Game 2. He made the most of the moment, tossing a scoreless inning and helping L.A. complete a sweep of the Brewers in the Wild Card round.

Despite turning to the rookie, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made clear that Jansen was not removed from the closer role. He explained that the right-hander was available but wanted to give the Brewers a different look from the night prior.

Now as the Dodgers head into a National League Division Series matchup against the San Diego Padres, Roberts revealed that he will once again consider alternating closers. “I think that’s great for the Dodgers,” he said.

“I did talk to Kenley, and I said, ‘Hey, be ready for anything.’ He just said whatever I need, he’s all in. It just speaks to him as a teammate. All he cares about is winning.

“Like I said, there’s going to be many opportunities for Kenley to close games out. Just given the optionality to use our ‘pen and deploy it however we see fit to best win a game, that’s a best-case scenario. We’ve got a lot of good options but Kenley is still right at the top.”

While Jansen remains the Dodgers closer, Roberts will consider deploying him in high-leverage situations before the ninth inning. “Not in every game,” Roberts said of using Jansen exclusively in the ninth.

“I think putting ourselves in that situation where I can’t use him a situation I feel he’s the best option, isn’t the best decision for the Dodgers right now.”

Jansen ‘on board’ with whatever Dodgers ask of him

Part of why Roberts felt comfortable going to Graterol in Game 2 was because Jansen has expressed a willingness to take on any role asked of him.

“Like I said the other day, he’s our closer but there’s still opportunities — and I talked to Kenley [Saturday] — just to be on the same page, that there’s still going to be times I might need him in a different inning,” Roberts reiterated.

“He’s on board with whatever to help us win baseball games. It’s a title, but I think that in practice, there’s certain innings and parts of the lineup that I think he’s the best option. We’ll kind of proceed that way.”

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