For the record, I like Kenley Jansen – I especially like his demeanor on the mound. I like that he glares at the hitter and is ready to throw the ball as soon as he gets it back from the catcher. The Dodgers had a previous closer, also a rather large man, who sometimes looked like he was afraid to throw the ball and just dilly-dallied on the mound between pitches. I didn’t like him as much. I think Kenley Jansen has a closers mentality. I think he’s fearless and indomitable. I’d go to war with him any time. I also think he’s going to break Dodger fans’ hearts on a regular basis until he masters another pitch. Last night, Kenley threw three sliders after throwing a steady diet of cut fastballs to the first two hitters, including Aybar, who homered for the first time this year off Jansen. His slider is not great, but hopefully it is a work in progress.
Many fans point to the Dodgers lack of offense as the problem, and while it would be nice to have more offense, the fact of the matter is that if the Dodgers’ bullpen had always done their job this year the Dodgers could have about 10 more wins. The bullpen has blown 8 save opportunities and has lost 9 games this year. While still having the best record in baseball, the Dodgers record would be even better if they had a “lights’ out closer.” Of course, that’s a challenge for most teams. We can talk about getting another bat, and that would be nice, but a solid closer would be nicer. Kenley will be a solid closer someday – he just needs another pitch. At the present time, he’s the best closer on the team, unless you think Belisario should get a shot, but I would not be averse to trading for a closer. Suggestions anyone?
Tony Jackson points out that his two losses against the Angels weren’t in save situations:
It is fairly common for closers, especially younger ones or less experienced ones, to struggle when the landscape isn’t exactly what it usually is. But it also is common for managers to ask their closers to do what Jansen was asked to do twice this week, because when you’re playing at home and you’re tied going into the ninth, there is absolutely no chance you’re going to encounter a save situation on that night.
It may be an aspect of the role Jansen still has to grow into. Even if he is loathe to admit that there is one iota of difference between the situations he faced on Monday and Wednesday and the one he faced on Tuesday.
Nate “Hard Luck” Eovaldi has a pretty good idea of how to pitch. His issue is control – and it’s not that bad – he doesn’t miss by a lot. He should get a lot better, but he knows how to mix up his pitches. He looks like he could be the NUMBER TWO behind Clayton as soon as next season.
- Jerry Hairston played some impressive defense at 2B last night.
- Mark Ellis could be back by the end of this month. If he’s OK, that’s another solid piece of offense. Add Matt Kemp back and the offense should be much improved.
- Matt Cain certainly pitched an awesome Perfect Game last night for the Giants. Props to him. To me, Chad Billingsley is a similar pitcher (in style of pitching). Matt Cain is a master, C-Bill is a work in progress.
- If you haven’t read about the IDIOT (he’s an idiot first and a racist second) who tweeted a racial epithet to Jerome Williams, you can read about it HERE. The racist has a lethal dose of no brains. Too bad, because Jerome Williams is a really good guy. In case you forgoit he was with the Dodgers in the minor leagues in 2008. He has had an up-and-down career, but it’s good to see him doing well again.
- Aaron Miles has retired – he had to play the game full-out all the time to just be average and it sems that he had lost the passion to do that. I get that. Miles was an all-around good guy. He will likely get a coaching job somewhere, someday.
- Allen Webster lost his 7th game last night (he’s 1-7), but pitched 6 strong innings, struck out 8 and walked 1 while allowing 8 hits. It’s his best outing of the year.