Kenley Jansen and Dave Roberts agree closer needs more work to sharpen up

first_imgMIAMI — Kenley Jansen doesn’t have a regular job. But he’s going to get regular work.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and his closer had a late-night conversation following Saturday’s home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and came to the conclusion that more frequent work would be the best thing to help Jansen find the consistency that has been lacking this season.Jansen said the two mutually agreed that Roberts will use him at least once per series for the remainder of the regular season regardless of the game score or whether it is a save situation.“I told him, ‘Listen, man, we both know you want to give me the save situations and stuff like that. But if I have to sacrifice three or four saves now just to get more work, that will get me more sharp,’” Jansen said.”You see the years I did so well were the years when I pitched a lot more consistently. I pitched a lot and consistently. I know once I keep getting into games — like that second game against Arizona I felt so much better than the first day.” Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco During his three consecutive All-Star seasons (2016-18), Jansen pitched in 205 games, 42 percent of the Dodgers’ schedule, appearing in at least 65 games each season. Through Tuesday, he had appeared in just 45 of the Dodgers’ first 121 games (37.2 percent) and is headed for his lowest innings total since 2015.“It was just having a conversation on what we feel will get him ready for October,” Roberts said. “When you’re talking about October, regular work is probably what’s going to happen. So to go and sit for four and five and six days and hope you feel sharp, waiting for a save opportunity instead of the No. 1 thing being what keeps you sharp and the save opportunity is essentially icing on the cake.”Jansen and Roberts believe more frequent work will allow Jansen to repeat his mechanics more often, an elusive goal Jansen has been chasing for two seasons now. Jansen said he has tried to do that in side sessions but “you can’t — I’ve been trying since May.”“The more you get into games, you get more into that consistency. Just to see hitters,” he said.“When you face hitters, that’s just so much better. Our offense we have here is unbelievable. We have something special. I’m not going to be pitching a lot if it’s only save situations.” Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies center_img Like most closers, though, Jansen’s statistics are not as good in non-save situations as they are during save situations — an indication the adrenaline is not the same in lower-leverage situations.“It’s not. But also — you’ve just got to prepare yourself mentally,” Jansen said. “Say we’re up by four (runs) and we’re up by one (game) in the series and it’s game two in the series like that Arizona game (Saturday), you’ve got to trick yourself because in the playoffs you’re pretty much going to be in there in that situation.“Mentally, you have to start preparing your mind.”Roberts acknowledged that closers often have a hard time gearing up in non-save situations.“We’ve talked about it and the game score shouldn’t dictate his mindset,” he said. “I know that sounds right in theory. But that’s my expectation of it.”STRONG DEFENSEIn the first 22 games after the All-Star break, the Dodgers committed 28 errors, leading to 22 unearned runs in the last 18 of those games.Before their game on August 4, Roberts joked that he was “kind of putting it out in the universe” that the “defensive slump was over.” The Dodgers made an error in that night’s game. But they took a streak of seven games without an error into Wednesday’s game.“It’s cyclical,” Roberts said. “We’re a good defensive club. That rut we were in — I’m happy it passed.”The error-free stretch ended when Corey Seager mishandled a ground ball in the sixth inning Wednesday night.POLLOCK STATUSOutfielder A.J. Pollock was not in the starting lineup after being pulled in the sixth inning Tuesday. Both moves were Roberts’ attempt to keep “monitoring” Pollock’s minor groin muscle injury and making sure it doesn’t “regress.”Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season The situation is “not ideal,” Roberts acknowledged. But the Dodgers don’t want to put Pollock on the Injured List and shut him down entirely for 10 days or more with “the way he’s swinging the bat.” Pollock is 10 for his past 22 (.455) with four doubles and two home runs in his past seven games despite the cautious playing time.UP NEXTDodgers (RHP Walker Buehler 10-2, 3.08 ERA) at Marlins (LHP Caleb Smith 7-6, 3.71 ERA), 12:05 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), AM 570last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *