In the midst of a third consecutive season with at least 30 saves, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is again one of the more consistent relievers in the bullpen. However, in a change from year’s prior, Jansen has received plenty of help from the entire group.
But the Dodgers’ crop of relievers hasn’t been able to do much else than standby as Jansen has blown two saves since the All-Star break. His save on Tuesday night was hardly a walk in the park as Jansen gave up a leadoff single before stranding the tying run at second base.
“Timing issue, I’m aware of it” Jansen said after earning the save. “There’s nothing smooth right now. I’ve been here before, just have to find my rhythm again.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently alluded to Jansen working with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to fix mechanical issues. Roberts reiterated this week that the duo is continuing to do the same.
“I think throughout the road trip there were moments when he was really sharp and other times mechanically, where he just didn’t look as fine-tuned as he usually is,” Roberts said.
“The command hasn’t been as good as it normally is. I know he’s working (to correct mechanical issues.” Jansen’s five blown saves have exceeded the two times he failed to shut the door last season.
The 28-year-old has otherwise been a stalwart, posting a 1.41 ERA, 274 ERA+ and 0.69 WHIP. Both marks are career bests since Jansen took over as a full-time closer. Los Angeles reportedly is looking to pair him with another established closer in Wade Davis of the Kansas City Royals.
Davis, who has a club option on his contract for 2017, could also serve as insurance in the event Jansen doesn’t re-sign with the Dodgers. It’s been reported Jansen may receive upwards of a five-year contract this winter in what will be his first experience with free agency.