One of the biggest reasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ worst start to a season in decades has been the struggles of closer Kenley Jansen.
Jansen gave up a game-winning home run to San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik in his first appearance of the season and later a game-tying three-run home run to Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Owings to blow his first save opportunity.
Since then, Jansen has put together two scoreless appearances, including one in the 10th inning Sunday against the Giants to pick up his first save of the season.
Despite the struggles and atypical results, teammate Matt Kemp is not worried about Jansen, particularly when taking into account how much of the season still remains ahead, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“He’s a beast, man,” Kemp said. “We all know that. Two rough outings? Doesn’t matter. Long season: 170,000 games left. We’ve got to keep going.”
Part of the reason for Jansen’s woes in his first couple outings was because of a velocity dip, which Jansen said was due to mechanics, not a health-related issue.
Jansen looked to closer to his usual self on Sunday, as his fastball was back to where it was in previous seasons when he dominated, averaging 94.1 mph and topping out at 95.3 mph.
Overall in four games so far this season, Jansen has given up five hits and four runs (9.00 ERA), while striking out four and walking two.
The Dodgers had lost every game that Jansen or Clayton Kershaw had pitched in until Sunday, but now that the streak is broken both pitchers will look to get back to their dominant selves, which should bode well for the Dodgers moving forward.