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Jansen's continued woes concern Roberts

Dodgers' closer searches for answers after blowing another save
Special to MLB.com

Kenley Jansen will continue to search for answers. What he won't question is his belief.

"I just have to get better," Jansen said after blowing a save in an eventual 7-3 Dodgers victory over the Padres on Tuesday night. "I can't let that get in my mind of what's wrong with me; it's early in the year. I'm never going to let that confidence go."

Kenley Jansen will continue to search for answers. What he won't question is his belief.

"I just have to get better," Jansen said after blowing a save in an eventual 7-3 Dodgers victory over the Padres on Tuesday night. "I can't let that get in my mind of what's wrong with me; it's early in the year. I'm never going to let that confidence go."

The Dodgers' two-time All-Star closer has blown two save chances this year in four attempts after blowing just one in 42 opportunities a year ago. But that's not the most alarming stat.  

Strikeout rate
2018: 22.6%
2017: 42.3%

Walk rate
2018: 9.7%
2017: 2.7%

Cut fastball velocity
2018: 91.1 mph
2017: 93.2 mph

Jansen's walk rate is up, his strikeout rate is way down after hovering above 40 percent for each of his last three seasons, and the velocity on his signature cut fastball -- which he throws more than 80 percent of the time -- is down almost 2 mph.  

Still, look elsewhere for a pity party. Jansen wants no part of that.  

"I'm not going to feel sorry for myself or anything," he said postgame. "The good thing is we got the win."  

Jansen entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead on Tuesday, but he couldn't locate his fastball and his cutter didn't have its usual bite. Eric Hosmer burned the right-hander for a homer and Christian Villanueva nearly had another, but center fielder Chris Taylor went over the wall to rob him. (Another troubling stat: Jansen has already allowed three homers in 6 2/3 innings this year after allowing five in 68 1/3 innings in 2017.) 

Video: LAD@SD: Taylor robs Villanueva at the wall in the 9th

Jansen then issued a two-out walk to Franchy Cordero, who came around to score on a pinch-hit double by Chase Headley.  

"The velocity was good but the characteristics of his cutter … they were just not doing what they typically do," said manager Dave Roberts, whose team rallied for four runs in the 12th. "They were straight as a string to Hosmer and Villanueva." 

Video: LAD@SD: Hosmer crushes a solo homer off Jansen

Jansen mentioned that maybe his release point was off. Or his stride was lacking. Once he gets in the video room with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on Wednesday, maybe the answer will be revealed. Somewhat encouraging was that his average cutter velo of 91.8 on the night tied for his season high (April 8 against the Giants).  

But until he can figure things out, Jansen will take the arrows that are pointed his way.  

"Listen people can criticize me, that's OK," he said. "They deserve to criticize me. But me, I have to be strong in my mind and know who I am. 

"It's a long season and I have that confidence that I am going to be all right. By the end of the year, hopefully, this will be over with and we had a great season and we won't be thinking about this month."  

Roberts doesn't know what to think. He just knows Jansen isn't on track.  

"Right now he's not right as far as the way the ball is coming out of the hand," Roberts said. "We have all the confidence in Kenley. It's one of those things people go through and he has to work his way out of it."

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenley Jansen