Talented as the Los Angeles Dodgers are, one question mark they continue to face is with Kenley Jansen and the role of closer. He watched from the bullpen as the Dodgers won the World Series last year and has been inconsistent to start this season.
Jansen’s latest struggles came earlier in the week when he blew a save against the Oakland Athletics and the Dodgers went on to fall in 10 innings. The appearance was Jansen’s second in a row, with both of the games yielding concerning results with respect to his command.
With the Dodgers clinging to a 1-0 lead in their home opener on Friday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts turned to Corey Knebel for the save opportunity. Victor Gonzalez and Blake Treinen had already thrown one scoreless inning each against the Washington Nationals.
“The bullpen was great. Victor came in and was very good, Treinen worked out of some trouble, and Corey at the end. I thought it was great,” Roberts said after the win.
“With Kenley, today would’ve been three of four, so we talked about it before the game. I wanted to stay away from him. He’s in the same bucket with all of our other pitchers and players, just managing workload and understanding we’ve got a long season ahead of us.”
The Dodgers have turned to Jansen — and other relievers — for a third appearance in four days, but Roberts views the current landscape to be much different because of the shortened 2020 season.
“I just think it’s appreciating what we went through last year and understanding we’ve got to play through October and take care of all of our guys,” Roberts explained.
He previously mentioned being most concerned with relief pitchers adjusting to the rigors of a full season.
Roberts confident in options for closer
Knebel’s save was his second of the season, putting him one ahead of Jansen this season. Roberts has noted the Dodgers have multiple options to finish games this year and will leverage them.
“I think we’re just in a really good spot,” he reiterated Friday. “Whether it’s Victor at a certain run, Corey or Blake. I feel good about any one of those guys outside of Kenley.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, participate in our shows and giveaways, and more!