The Dodgers won a big one run game tonight against the Giants behind another strong outing from ace Clayton Kershaw. The lefty gave up one run in 7 innings of work, allowing only 6 hits on 90 pitches, 66 of them strikes.
The win was capped by a 4 out save by Kenley Jansen, his third of the like in this short season. Jansen’s 3 four out saves so early in the season is alarming for the ball club, this doesn’t seem to be sustainable over the course of the long marathon of a season.
The Dodgers need one of their relievers to develop into a legitimate set up man and get three outs in the 8th without leaving fans gasping for breath from an intense outing or just letting the game get completely out of hand and unreachable for a win.
Quite frankly, every time I see Pedro Baez on the mound in the 8th inning in a close game, I’m on the verge of having a heart attack.
Roberts pulling out Baez after a perfect two outs to bring in Jansen against arguably the best Giant hitter in Buster Posey, gave the impression there is no trust in another reliever to get late inning clutch outs. To go with this, Posey is now 8-18 lifetime off Kenley, an average of 0.444.
This is a sign that Roberts has no trust in anyone but the man he paid the big bucks over the winter, to get the job done.
Last year in the entire MLB there were only 20 guys to get a 4 out+ save, and 62 total all year. This means on average there was only over 2 per team, the most coming in the form of a team having 6 which occurred twice.
Kenley had 6 chances at a 4 out+ save and converted on 5 of them, this year he has had 2 in just 6 games and come through both times. I know it is early and there is a long way to go but in 21 games he has had 2 chances, this mean for a 162 game season he could be throwing 4+ outs 15 or 16 times. This would break the MLB record.
During Kenley’s career he has converted 193 out of 218 save opportunities, this is 88.5%. For this same span his 4 out+ saves has made 15 for 19 of these opportunities, only 78.9%
This is a worrying trend for the Dodgers with what is a very good save percentage coming down to now a not so good one. Along with this, he will get burned out early in the year having been put in many high leverage situations and being relied on for them. Jansen, like most relievers, is used to throwing one inning maximum for a game and so I worry this process of warming up, cooling down and warming up again may hinder rather than help the team.