Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Explains Use Of Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres played a nine-inning game that ran four hours and 11 minutes long. The encore was a more tidy three-hour, 26-minute affair, but featured its own oddities.

Clayton Kershaw threw 96 pitches and scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings. He returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and surrendered a leadoff home run to pinch-hitter Ryan Schimpf.

Kershaw proceeded to walk Manuel Margto and Wil Myers, with a strikeout sandwiched in between. He was overrun by emotion, a little too much Kershaw surmised, and was removed after throwing a season-high 118 pitches.

“Where he was at, I felt the lack of stressful innings prior to that, it warranted and made sense to have him go back out there,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained of sending his ace to the hill with a 5-0 lead in the eighth.

“He’ll get an extra day (of rest) before his next start.” Roberts added there wasn’t any need to continue to push Kershaw once some trouble set in, because the season is still in the early stages.

“I wanted to make it through eight (innings) but didn’t get the job done,” Kershaw said. Pedro Baez entered in relief and retired one of two batters faced. He exited with two outs, the bases loaded, and was replaced by Kenley Jansen.

Jansen struck out Hunter Renfroe on a full count of what was a dramatic six-pitch at-bat. The Dodgers proceeded to blow the game open in the ninth inning, punctuated by Cody Bellinger’s grand slam.

That it came with two outs complicated matters. Jansen grounded out to end the eighth inning, and with a 10-1 lead, returned to the mound in quest of his fourth four-out save this season. “Where we were at, he pitched out of a big spot (in eighth inning). I can’t predict the grand slam in the ninth inning and five runs,” Roberts said.

“When the point is to have [Jansen] for four outs, you can’t just get a reliever and say, ‘Go come in the game.’ There’s a point where he hasn’t been used a whole lot, weather coming [Sunday], and he was already warm. Do I foresee a 22-pitch inning from Kenley? No. Once the pitch count started to get up there, then I got him out.”

Jansen notched back-to-back strikeouts after allowing a leadoff single. Manuel Margot’s base hit kept the inning alive and left runners at the corners. Even with that, Jansen induced a grounder to third base, only for Justin Turner’s throwing error to allow a run to score.

That marked the end of the road for Jansen at 33 pitches over one inning of work. Chris Hatcher needed all of one pitch to record the final out of game that took strange twists late.

Jansen didn’t expect to be available Sunday, but caught a reprieve as the 1:40 p.m. PT start was rained out and rescheduled as part of a split doubleheader on Saturday, Sept. 2.