The angst that accompanied Kenley Jansen’s entrance into games for the past three seasons has dissipated as the confidence in the Dodgers closer has grown.
Jansen may not be back to his 2017 level of dominance, when he went 5-0 with a career-low 1.32 ERA and 41, striking out 109 and walking seven in 68 1/3 innings, but the 33-year-old right-hander is close enough for the Dodgers to feel secure again with a narrow ninth-inning lead.
“It’s feeling pretty automatic when he gets the ball right now,” pitcher Clayton Kershaw said after Jansen struck out two of three batters, both with 96-mph sinking fastballs, to nail down a 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, “so that’s a great feeling.”
Jansen spent the past three years on shaky ground, going 9-9 with a 3.34 ERA, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder’s inability to maintain his mechanics producing wild variance in the velocity and command of his trademark cut-fastball—and his results.
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