The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their dominance against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, winning their 12th consecutive head-to-head matchup and earning a series victory.
Tony Gonsolin made his 2021 debut but didn’t provide much length as he recorded only five outs. It essentially meant the Dodgers had to rely on another bullpen game despite adding a fifth starter to the rotation.
Having taken this approach several times before, L.A.’s relief corps once again rose to the occasion. The combination of Victor Gonzalez, David Price, Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while collecting five strikeouts.
For Jansen, he picked up his 14th save of the season after recording the final four outs. He did not allow a hit, struck out a batter and even made a spectacular game-ending catch on a line drive off the bat of Ke’Bryan Hayes that had an exit velocity of 92 mph.
“That was fun. I mean, that was a quick rush,” Jansen said of his catch. “Adrenaline, everything. It’s kind of escape for your life and like I said, it’s just the reaction time to catch the ball.”
With Wednesday’s scoreless outing, Jansen lowered his ERA on the season to 1.75 — his best mark since an All-Star campaign in 2017. He’s allowed just seven hits in 25.2 innings and previously attributed his success to getting an increase in velocity and movement on his pitches.
Jansen changed his mechanics to achieve those results and noticeably moves his hip before throwing a pitch. “Resetting my hip. Make sure my hip is in the right direction and push through my hip,” Jansen explained of the movement.
“Whenever I’m using my hip and lower half, that’s been when the velo and everything comes up. If you see the first pitch when I walked that hitter, it was like 89-90 (mph). I rushed it and used more upper body, like I was doing last year.
“For me it’s more of stick with my lower half, just trust it and be sure my lower half goes first. Whenever my lower half is on point, my arm is going to catch up to it and I’m going to let it go.
“Just got to continue to work on it. I’ve still got to make adjustments to clean up those walks. For the most part I’m satisfied, but just got to keep working hard and getting better every day.”
Jansen finding success in back-to-back appearances
Jansen’s appearance on Wednesday was the second in as many days, having previously pitched in Tuesday’s series opener at PNC Park. It was his fourth time pitching in consecutive games this season, and the second time not allowing a run in either appearance.
“It’s just the work you put in,” Jansen said of his recent success in back-to-back appearances. “Whatever happened in the past and us being human, didn’t have our best, not giving up. I’m not going to give up.
“I’m going to give the best I have and work for it to give everything I have to this organization. Everything I did in the offseason, in Spring Training and during the season — keep working with B-Mac, keep working with our pitching coaches — all that stuff is paying off.
“It looks good right now and I’ve just got to keep getting better and better every day.”
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