Dodgers News: Kenley Jansen Lobbied For Pedro Baez To Make NLDS Roster
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Having been with the Los Angeles Dodgers in each of their past three trips to the postseason, Pedro Baez is no stranger to bright lights and criticism. However, the past five weeks have been unlike any other period of time for the power right-hander.

Baez struggled in an outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates last month, which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he was entitled to, given his track record of success. Following a rocky relief appearance against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Roberts restated his trust in Baez.

When he was booed upon entering a game at Dodger Stadium, Roberts chided fans for their poor treatment. For all of Roberts’ public votes of confidence, Baez still struggled.

The rough month of September has muddied his outlook for the Dodgers’ postseason roster. Despite Baez’s troubles, Kenley Jansen came to his defense and argued he should be on the active roster for the National League Division Series, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group:

On the same day Roberts said he would begin informing players of his NLDS roster plans, Jansen openly lobbied for Baez to be included despite his recent performance.

“If we get Petey like who he used to be – he’s still the Petey who he is – if we can get him back to who he is, it’s going to be a plus point for us in the playoffs,” Jansen said Wednesday. “Because when Petey is on, it’s a lockdown mode with Petey at the end.”

Baez is 3-6 with a 2.98 ERA, 4.58 FIP and 1.34 WHIP in 65 games. He’s 0-4 and allowed 12 runs (10 earned) in eight innings (11.25 ERA) across 10 games. Baez has thrown a combined 3.2 scoreless innings in his last three appearances.

After blowing a lead to the Philadelphia Phillies, Baez vowed he’d continue working to improve and acknowledged he needed to better utilize his secondary pitches.

He’s thrown a fastball 68.5 percent of the time, which is up from last season’s usage rate of 62.7 percent. So is his slider, which is at 16.7 percent compared to 12.6 percent. Meanwhile, Baez’s sinker is down from last year’s 12 percent to four percent, and changeup has dropped from 12.6 percent to 10.8 percent.

During the month of September, Baez’s fastball rate has spiked to 78.2 percent, while his slider and changeup are at 11.5 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.

In terms of right-handed relievers, Jansen and Brandon Morrow are locks to make the playoff roster. From there, Baez, Walker Buehler, Josh Fields, Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling presumably are others receiving consideration.