Kenley Jansen clearly had a rough Game 5 as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer gave up two earned runs off of four hits to the St. Louis Cardinals. Twitter immediately blew up with Dodgers fans calling for Jansen to be removed from his closer role:
Stress levels were off the chart w/ Jansen pitching the 9th. Maybe it’s time to put him as setup man in the 8th and go to Wilson in the 9th
— Lily (@turtledip) October 16, 2013
What these non-believers need to remember is that Jansen is one of the main reasons the Dodgers are even in the playoffs at all. Stop trying to throw Jansen under the bus for one shaky outing!
Keep in mind, the trouble started when Matt Holliday led off the bottom of the 9th with a “double” that really would have been an easy fly ball if Yasiel Puig had not lost it in the sun. If that play gets made and everything else went the way it did, Jansen strikes out David Freese for the third out, stranding two Cardinals on base or having given up one run in the worst case scenario.
Even with the outing going as it did for Jansen, Dodgers fans need to relax and remember all that he did to get them to the playoffs. Jansen’s 1.88 ERA, 28 saves and 111 strike outs in 76.2 innings pitched is not a season to be taken for granted. With only 18 walks in 2013, Jansen recorded a nearly immaculate strike out to walk ratio of 6.17 to 1!
After taking over the closer role for Brandon League, Jansen was an integral part of leading the Dodgers to the 2013 NLCS and he should by no means be replaced by Brian Wilson or anyone else. Wilson has been great in his own right since returning from injury and signing with the Dodgers, but Kenley Jansen is the best and deserved closer.
As the Dodgers head to St. Louis for Game 6 and potential Game 7, Dodgers fans should hold out faith in Jansen a little longer. Keep this in mind, the last time Jansen gave up two runs in an outing, he appeared in 57 games before doing so again. Believe in Jansen and believe in the Dodgers.