While the Los Angeles Dodgers endured several injuries throughout the early stages of the season, their inconsistent offense and shaky bullpen did little to help matters. While the starting rotation has remained a revolving door, the offense and relievers have turned the corner.
Just as Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner and Corey Seager are leading the charge at the plate, Joe Blanton, Kenley Jansen and Adam Liberatore are anchoring an oft-criticized bullpen. Jansen has reigned as the Dodgers’ best reliever in recent seasons, but he’s proven to be human this year.
Such was the case on the club’s nine-game road trip in which Jansen blew two save opportunities that eventually led to a pair of extra-innings losses.
Jansen’s performance in the unofficial first half of the season earned him a long overdue first career trip to the All-Star Game.
During his time in San Diego, the hard-throwing right-hander said he’s prepared for relief appearances beyond the traditional three-out save opportunities, per Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider:.
“I’m ready for it mentally,” Jansen said of going longer in save situations. “I’m ready, but I’ll also be honest with Doc (Dave Roberts). If I’m feeling I can’t do four outs, five outs, I’ll let him know. That’s the great thing about Doc — he’s protected me so much.”
Jansen has converted 29 of 34 save chances this season, with a 1.44 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. He ranks fifth in the Majors in saves, yet sports a superior ERA than all closers ahead of him except for Baltimore’s Zach Britton, who owns a 0.65 ERA. Britton is second in the the Majors with 32 saves.
Jansen’s WHIP is lower than all five saves leaders ahead of him. He’s part of a Dodgers bullpen that is tied with the Washington Nationals with an MLB-best 2.98 ERA. On the season, Jansen has recorded three four-out saves, and one five-out save (April 13). His last four-out save came June 27 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.