Dodgers News: Kenley Jansen Welcomes Criticism But Not Lacking Confidence Amid 2nd Blown Save, Early-Season Struggles
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jansen has not looked like his usual self so far to start the 2018 season. He gave up a game-winning home run to Joe Panik in his first outing of the season and blew a three-run lead in his first save opportunity.

Those struggles continued on Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres, with Jansen blowing a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning, marking his second blown save of the young season. Luckily, Jansen’s teammates picked him up and were able to earn their third straight victory by defeating San Diego, 7-3, in 12 innings.

Jansen did not make excuses after the rough outing, saying that he simply needs to be better, as seen on SportsNet LA:

“I’ve just got to get better. I can’t let that get in my mind, ‘What’s wrong with me? Or this and that.’ It’s early in the year. Nobody is going to get in my mind. No hitter is going to get in my mind. I’m just going to keep battling. I will find it. I have confidence in myself. It’s just a matter of time.”

Jansen’s velocity has been inconsistent thus far and he’s also battled mechanical issues. But it was pitch location that Jansen pointed to as reason for the Padres getting to him:

“I think I missed location. I’ve just got to find it, be consistent, and I’ll be fine. Eric Hosmer, ball down the middle, he got me. Villanueva, down the middle again. That’s not me. The one good pitch I made on Chase Headley, he just put a good swing on it and got that one. Most of them, my location. … I’m not going to feel sorry for myself or anything. The good thing is we got the win today.”

Jansen realizes that as long as he struggles, people are going to criticize him, but he is not going to let that affect his confidence:

“People can criticize you, that’s OK. They deserve to criticize me. For me, I just have to be strong in my mind and know who I am. I’ve done this for a long time now. I’ve just got to go out there and have that confidence.”

After watching Jansen blow a second save, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts conceded that his closer is not right at the moment.

Through his first seven games, Jansen has given up three home runs, which is only two less than he allowed all of last season. He has also walked three batters, which is four less than he had in 2017.

So something is clearly not right with Jansen, and he will try to work through those issues and get back to the status of being the best closer in all of baseball.