A long-held belief at any level of sports is playing mad can be counterproductive and lead to poor results. Of course, there are exceptions, and Kenley Jansen has looked to be one of them in his last two appearances.
Jansen has converted two consecutive saves during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ current five-game winning streak and in both appearances wore a scowl on his face. Jansen was utterly dominant against the Washington Nationals on Sunday, then resolute in a save Wednesday.
He issued a leadoff walk before striking out the next three batters to wrap up the Dodgers’ 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. “Got to be angry. Enough is enough. You just put a little bit more into it. You want to get better, and sometimes anger helps. Sometimes it doesn’t,” Jansen admitted.
“You’ve just got to be day by day, continue to work, stay focused and keep working hard. The good thing is watching these guys is fun. For me to just have the confidence and feeling back is even more fun. It’s going to be fun from now on this season.”
While Jansen’s words could be taken as being upset over fans’ opinion of him and continued questions about his ability, the 33-year-old is keeping the focus inward. “It’s Kenley versus Kenley,” he said.
“That’s how I see it. You’ve just got to continue to work hard. Understand that there’s going to be good hitters you face. Being in the Major Leagues, you’re going to face all great hitters. The last three outs are not the easiest thing to do. I’ve been doing it for a while and I want to continue to get better.
“That’s all I want to do. Every day I come to the ballpark, it’s get better and help my brothers in that locker win ballgames. That’s all it’s about. We’re here to win another championship.”
Jansen’s outlook has also included changing his walk-up song from “California Love” to “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” He explained that as a “new beginning.”
Jansen found feel for velocity
While it took Jansen a few batters to reach it, his velocity over the past two appearances has touched 94 mph. “Just having better timing,” Jansen explained of the the recent spike. “It’s a feel I’ve been searching for for years. It’s hard for me to explain, but on the second pitch against Washington, when I had that feeling I just held onto it.
“Today I still had it, felt really good. The first hitter, [ball] one, that was unacceptable for me. Especially up by two. But everything else was just positive. Very positive. When you get in your rhythm you have that feel pitch.
“The cutter always used to be a feel pitch. When my timing is not right, it’s going to be 89 (mph). When my timing is good, it’s going to be 92, 94 (mph). I felt great.”
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