An already shaky bullpen was thrown for a loop when Kenley Jansen suffered from another bout with an irregular heartbeat during last week’s road series against the Colorado Rockies.
Jansen was unavailable for the series opener at Coors Field, was ruled out for the remainder of the weekend set and subsequently placed on the 10-day disabled list. Jansen returned to Los Angeles to meet with cardiologists and is due to be reevaluated Aug. 20.
In his absence the Dodgers suffered consecutive walk-off losses and overall have lost four games in a row. Scott Alexander blew a save Monday night, allowing the San Francisco Giants to rally for four runs with two outs.
As the Dodgers continue to search for an answer without Jansen, Ross Stripling voiced a willingness to attempt closing games, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Sure, yeah. I mean, I feel like I’ve kind of done it all but that. Like Kiké has done everything but catch. So I could be the Kiké of the pitching staff. Yeah, I’d like to give it a shot. I think it takes a special pitcher to be able to close out games. You’ve got to have unbelievable stuff, unbelievable confidence. You’ve got to have the mentality of coming back if one goes wrong and being able to come back and do it again. Take the ball in any scenario. It’s something that would be great to give it a shot, but we haven’t talked about it. … We’ll see. I’ll give it a go if they tell me to.”
While Stripling has excelled as a relief pitcher for the Dodgers, he only has two career saves. Both came last season, with the first a three-inning save, and the second in an extra-innings victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Although the 28-year-old is willing to fill the void left by Jansen, it’s unlikely the Dodgers go that route. Kenta Maeda was also moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen, and presumably would be first in line for a save opportunity.
Caleb Ferguson, who was shaky as a starter but proven to be an effective reliever, might also slot ahead of Stripling on the depth chart. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously made it clear the club intends to get Stripling back into the rotation in the near future.