Kenley Jansen heard all of the noise last season. He’s heard the boos this season. For him, enough is enough.
“You gotta be angry,” Jansen said to reporters following his outing on Wednesday night. “Enough is enough. Sometimes you just put a little more into it. You want to get better. Sometimes anger helps.”
Anger certainly seems to be helping Jansen as of late. Ever since he blew a save in Oakland last week, he looks like a completely different pitcher on the mound. Over his last two appearances, Jansen has recorded two saves and has looked nearly flawless doing it.
Over the weekend against Washington, Jansen threw a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts. On Wednesday night, he threw a scoreless ninth with three strikeouts. Jansen said he attributes this recent success with his timing.
“It’s the feel,” he said. “It’s the feel I’ve been searching for for years. On the second pitch against Washington I felt it and held onto it. Today I still had it.”
It wasn’t an ideal start to his outing yesterday, as he issued a leadoff walk to begin the inning, bringing the tying run to the plate with zero outs. He really settled down after that, throwing 11 strikes compared to only three balls to close things out.
“My delivery was slower on the first hitter,” he said. “Try to be a little faster to home plate. It clicked. You just have that feeling and you hold onto it.”
Jansen said that he heard the boos after he walked the first batter. According to his teammate Justin Turner, Jansen has heard the noise for years when things aren’t going right for him. While speaking with reporters following the game, Turner said that Jansen is pitching with a chip on his shoulder this season.
“Everyone is aware of what he went through last year and the negativeness around him,” Turner said. “He wants to prove he’s an elite closer. He wants to be the guy shutting the door. When you hear that noise, you still feel that. He’s pitching like he’s got something to prove. It’s good for him.”
A big concern surrounding Jansen has been his dip in velocity over the years. It seems to coincide with how he usually performs. Jansen told reporters that when he’s throwing 89 mph, his stuff isn’t good. When it’s between 92 and 94 though, it’s great.
Jansen said he tends to never check the radar gun to see what his velocity is at, but if he will it’ll be during his first couple of pitches so he has an idea of where he’s at.
“Sometimes I like to peak at the first couple of pitches to see where I’m at, but sometimes I don’t,” he said. “It ain’t about the velocity. They don’t pay me for velocity. They pay me to get outs.”
That’s true. The Dodgers pay Jansen to get outs, and there is arguably nobody else on the team who wants to get those outs more than he does.
“I ain’t perfect,” Jansen said. “I’m trying to win a ballgame. We all want to win here. To me, that’s just noise. I’m going to continue to work my ass off and help the Dodgers win a championship. That’s how it’s going to be.”