Andrew Friedman: Kenley Jansen ‘Working Incredibly Hard,’ But Dodgers Don’t Have Defined Closer

One of the biggest storylines for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year and now into the postseason has been the inconsistencies of Kenley Jansen in the closer role.

He tossed a scoreless inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series to notch the save, but it wasn’t without issuing a two-out walk that allowed the dangerous Christian Yelich to come up to the plate as the tying run.

Then in his next appearance against the San Diego Padres in Game 1 of the NL Division Series, Jansen retired both batters faced. However, it came in a non-save situation, as the Dodgers held a 5-1 lead.

Jansen’s most recent outing in Game 2 of the NLDS was his least effective yet, as he allowed two runs on three hits over two-thirds of an inning. He did not complete the frame, giving the ball to Joe Kelly, who recorded the final out.

Uncertainty now hovers over Jansen as the Dodgers continue their NL Championship Series matchup against the Atlanta Braves.

“I think obviously this has been a popular question and I totally get it,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

“He is working incredibly hard and I think again, what happened in Game 2 happened, but we went back and watched it and the first 19 pitches were really good, really competitive, and then he made some pitches that were mistakes and things I think we would say weren’t his best throws.

“He’s working incredibly hard. There’s some stuff in the delivery that I think Mark and Kyle are kind of keying on. But to his credit, all he is saying right now is that he wants to be a part in helping us win a championship.

“It’s a text message he’s sending to the other bullpen guys, and from Doc and Mark and Danny’s standpoint in-game, I think there are really good runs for different relievers and just how to deploy it and when obviously depends on how certain games play out. But I do expect him to be a big part in helping us win a championship.”

As for whether the Dodgers have a set closer, Friedman would not commit to Jansen. “I think it’s safe to say that each night we’re going to do everything we can to put ourselves in the best position to win a game,” Friedman said.

Jansen passed over in Game 1 against Braves

With Walker Buehler lasting only five innings in his Game 1 start against the Braves, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was forced to rely heavily on his bullpen.

Five different arms, including Dustin May, were used, but Jansen did not factor into the outcome. With the game tied in the ninth inning, he was passed over for Blake Treinen, who wound up surrendering the go-ahead home run to Austin Riley.

“I just felt that in a tie ballgame, us the home team, I felt that run was really good for Blake,” Roberts said. “He’s going to have to do it again. It just didn’t work out.”

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