Just what is Dodgers’ reliever Kenley Jansen trying to do to us all? First off, he’s trying to circle the wagons just in time for the Dodgers to make a run to their first World Series title since 1988. Furthermore, Sunday night was a step in the right direction.
Indeed – Jansen worked a clean bottom of the 8th inning for the Dodgers – capping it off with a dominating strikeout of Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso. Jansen said that he felt really good, and everything seemed to click.
“Everything clicked,” he said of his mechanics. “It’s gotta click at some point. Just keep working hard and get myself ready for the playoffs.”
Surely, it’s nice to hear Jansen talk this way. While he has provided some interesting quotes during times of struggle, it’s good to feel him building confidence and comfort as the year comes to a close.
After Sunday night’s 3-2 victory in New York, Bill Plunkett of the OC Register talked to Dave Roberts about the importance of Jansen stringing together some confidence before the postseason.
#Dodgers notes: Dave Roberts said "It’s very important" for Kenley Jansen to finish strong, "for his confidence, for the team’s confidence. He understands that." A rare admission from Roberts.https://t.co/DvCI1uJlj2
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 16, 2019
Without question, Roberts subscribes to the age-old statement that it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.
“Very important,” Roberts said. “How many games do we have left, what is it – 12 games? So you’re talking about potentially four more appearances, something like that. It’s very important – for his confidence, for the team’s confidence. He understands that.”
Equally important, not a lot of time remains for Jansen and his teammates to get into a groove before the final chapters of 2019 are written. Still, Jansen knows exactly what’s going on when struggles occur. Moreover, he sounds like a player who knows exactly what needs to take place for him to be ready when the bright lights turn on in October.
“Every time I struggled, it’s my mechanics,” he said, believing flaws in his delivery had robbed his fastball of velocity and his cutter of its essential late movement. “People say I’m losing my fastball. If I’m out of whack with my mechanics I’m going to lose my fastball. Everything is going to get crisp once I’m more like this (direct to the plate) and not this (side to side).”
Finally, make no mistake about it. Jansen is going to get the ball in the pressure cooker spots of the games that matter. It’s vitally important that the version of the pitcher we saw on Sunday Night Baseball is the guy against the best teams in the postseason field. Los Angeles will struggle to reach the ultimate goal without that player.