Dodgers Predetermined To Giving Kenley Jansen 2nd Opportunity Against Astros
Kenley Jansen, Will Smith, Dodgers win
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers were three outs from remaining undefeated against the Houston Astros this season when Kenley Jansen began to come apart at the seams in an eventual blown save.

The Astros greeted Jansen with four consecutive hits to start the ninth, then a fifth batter reached on Max Muncy’s error, and that was followed by Alex Bregman’s go-ahead RBI single. Jansen was removed after facing six batters and failing to record an out.

He lamented getting ahead in the count but not having enough command to put hitters away. Jansen vowed to learn and improve from the “nightmare” appearance. Another opportunity quickly came his way as Jansen began warming up in the eighth inning Sunday night.

At the time the Dodgers held a 5-1 lead, but Chris Taylor blew the game open with a three-run home run. Jansen still entered and retired the side in order to complete a successful bullpen game for the Dodgers.

“I knew that with how we were going to navigate tonight, he was going to pitch,” manager Dave Roberts said after the 8-1 win. “He understood that. I asked him how he felt, and he was ready to go.

“I just thought he was really good. The conviction, the execution, all that stuff was plus-plus across the board.”

Will Smith added: “He was executing. [Saturday] night, kind of some misfires in there that they capitalized on. Tonight, he made his pitches and looked good.”

On the season Jansen has converted 10 of 12 save opportunities, but because of imploding against the Astros, his ERA sits at an inflated 3.72. Prior to Sunday, Jansen’s two most recent appearances saw him struggle in some regard.

Last week against the Arizona Diamondbacks he nearly coughed up a four-run lead in the 10th inning. Though, Roberts noted Jansen’s command was much better against the Giants, and that was one reason he initially left him in the game as the Astros were stringing hits together.

Dodgers bullpen game a success

With Walker Buehler on the 10-day injured list for a second time because of a blister on his right index finger, the Dodgers were short a starter in the series finale with the Astros. They turned to a bullpen game for a second time this year, and it again paid off.

“It was great. The guys responded, we put them in positions that we felt they matched up well, and to their credit they each individually did a great job,” Roberts said.

“It started with Brusdar setting the tone. The run prevention, really good. And the at-bat quality against Greinke, who is having a really nice year, was really good.”

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