Jansen: 'I should have come out of the game'
Dodgers closer blows save after taking comebacker off right ankle
PHILADELPHIA -- Kenley Jansen assured manager Dave Roberts he wanted to stay on the mound. In hindsight, the Dodgers closer admitted he should have let someone else finish Tuesday's game.
On a night when each of the first 14 runs scored via homers, it was a line drive off Jansen's right ankle that may have had the biggest impact in the Dodgers' 9-8 walk-off loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
After Matt Beaty knocked a pinch-hit, go-ahead three-run homer to give the Dodgers an 8-6 lead in the top of the ninth, Jansen entered to close the door in the bottom half. Phillies outfielder Adam Haseley welcomed the right-hander to the game with a 98 mph comebacker that deflected off Jansen's ankle hard enough to roll into foul territory along the first-base line, where David Freese picked it up and tagged out Haseley.
Jansen immediately waved off Roberts and the training staff -- a decision he would later regret.
The Phillies followed with four consecutive hits, capped by Bryce Harper's walk-off two-run double on a hard-to-handle line drive to center field.
"If I look back, man, I probably would have come out of the game," Jansen said after walking across the clubhouse with a pronounced limp. "But I’m not going to take myself out of the game. I didn’t help us."
Though Roberts stayed in the dugout initially, he did come out -- along with massage therapist Yosuke Nakajima -- to check on Jansen after Scott Kingery blooped an RBI single into shallow left-center three batters later, cutting the lead to 8-7. Roberts noticed Jansen limping as he attempted to back up home plate.
“Just went out there and checked on him, and he assured us he’s fine," Roberts said. "He felt it but [said] it’s not gonna compromise his arm or anything like that. He said he felt good and he wanted to keep going.”
"I just told them, ‘It hurts, but I’m good. Let’s go,'" Jansen said. "That’s what I like about Doc, man. Listen, you’re going to lose ballgames sometimes. I’m not a quitter. Even if it hurts, I’m still going to go out there and compete, but I should have been a little smarter out there, and be honest with myself and come out of the game. I just take the blame on myself."
While Jansen wanted a mulligan, Roberts stuck by his decision.
"When Kenley is a guy who’s been around many times, and he feels like he can keep going -- and feel like he’s not compromising himself for the team -- then for me, I’ve got to trust that," Roberts said.
Harper delivered the game-winning hit on the next pitch, scorching a 110.4 mph liner that short-hopped off center fielder A.J. Pollock and went to the wall.
"I’m not an excuse guy, but I shouldn’t have kept pitching," Jansen said. "That’s the one thing I can learn from. I should have come out of the game."
Instead, the Dodgers lost on a night when they rallied from a 6-1 deficit to take an 8-6 lead on their fifth homer of the night. All eight runs scored courtesy of the long ball, including Cody Bellinger's Major League-leading 34th of the season. It marked the first time the Dodgers dropped a game in which they hit five home runs since July 20, 2003, when they lost 10-7 to the Cardinals.
Pollock hit one of the five on Tuesday -- his third straight game with a homer -- but, like Jansen, it was a pair of defensive plays in the decisive ninth that Pollock wanted back. Prior to misplaying Harper's game-winning hit, Pollock initially broke backward on Kingery's bloop single before charging in and coming up just short on a ball that had a catch probability of 85 percent, according to Statcast.
"Wish it turned out differently," Pollock said. "I don't feel great about it."
That's exactly how Jansen described his ankle before limping off for more treatment, though he hadn't undergone any tests and was unsure if he would Tuesday night.
“There was a lot of good takeaways, but obviously we didn’t win the game," Roberts said. "We’ll be ready tomorrow.”
Whether or not Jansen will also be ready remains to be seen.