Dodgers News: Kenley Jansen Attributes Success To No Longer Being ‘Stubborn’
Kenley Jansen, 2021 National League Wild Card Game
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

With their season on the line, the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen faced a tall order after Max Scherzer failed to get out of the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Game.

The combination of Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen, Corey Knebel and Kenley Jansen stepped up when it mattered most by allowing only three baserunners and collecting six strikeouts over 4.2 scoreless innings.

Jansen was tasked with keeping the score tied in the top of the ninth, and he did just that by working around a one-out single and striking out three.

It continued an impressive stretch for the 34-year-old and now including the NL Division Series, he has given up only one run over his last 23 appearances dating back to Aug. 20.

Jansen finished the regular season with a 2.22 ERA, which was his lowest since 2017. He also notched 38 saves — his most in three years — while yielding only 36 hits in 69 innings pitched.

“I mean, you learn a lot. You learn from when you have to deal with adversity and knowing that I didn’t have my best two years the last couple of years, and you learn,” Jansen said after struggling with inconsistencies in the previous two seasons.

“You try to make sure and see what’s going on. Best pitch is my cutter, and I try to shape that and make it back to what it is and not even that, just continue to develop my two-seamer and slider. And now you just know situations how have you to use it better now.

“So that’s what I feel like. I’m a more experienced pitcher now instead of being stubborn out there and just die with one pitch.”

As Jansen mentioned, he has been more open-minded with his pitch selection this year, throwing his cutter just over half of the time while also mixing in a two-seam fastball and slider.

The all-time Dodgers saves leader additionally has seen an increase in the velocity and movement of his pitches this season, which he credited to a new workout program he began last offseason.

Jansen looking to turn page on previous struggles against Giants

Over eight regular-season appearances against the San Francisco Giants, Jansen posted a 12.15 ERA in 6.2 innings of work and blew back-to-backs saves in July.

“Those are two weird outings, to be honest with you. I don’t want to keep looking back on it. It’s just weird,” Jansen recently said. “For me, it’s just continue to focus even more, narrow my focus down even narrower. So that’s what kind of helped me, and just continue to focus on one day. … So it’s just always constantly just preparing myself to be at my best.”

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