Kenley Jansen’s issue: when batters become base stealers

first_imgSince he is at a natural disadvantage thwarting potential base-stealers, Jansen has a bag of tricks he’ll use to keep runners close to first base. He threw over four times during Luis Valbuena’s at-bat — each time throwing before he came to a set position, unlike most pitchers who throw once they’re set. Analyst Kevin Kennedy said on the Dodgers’ radio broadcast that Jansen’s delivery time to Valbuena was clocked at 1.37 seconds. That’s considered slow by major-league standards, but not slow enough to completely prevent a catcher from throwing out a baserunner. Correa tried to steal second base on Jansen’s 2-2 pitch, but Valbuena fouled the pitch off.Jansen came back to strike out Valbuena but Correa stole second — by a wide margin — on the first pitch to Evan Gattis. In Jansen’s mind, that was OK.“Get on second, don’t bother me, just can’t score,” he said. Except Correa did score when Marwin Gonzalez stroked a line drive into right field with two outs. The game was now tied at 2. Jansen had blown his second save in 26 attempts this season.The closer was frustrated, calling the hits by Correa and Gonzalez “bulls—.” He also offered an interesting defense of his approach to holding runners on base.“Sometimes,” Jansen said, “you just can’t give up your best stuff, you know what I’m saying? I try to keep them on all the time, but you can’t trade stuff just to hold the runners.”Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sounded satisfied with Jansen’s effort.“Kenley tried to work on him, change tempo a little bit,” Mattingly said. “That’s really what he does. But even with that, he gets two big outs and puts himself in a situation where we can get an out for a win right there. We just weren’t able to get that out.”Yimi Garcia optionedThe Dodgers optioned right-handed reliever Yimi Garcia to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday. Juan Nicasio, who’s been traveling with the team on its current three-city road trip, is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday in Cincinnati. Garcia, 25, had been on the Dodgers’ major league roster for the third time this season. He allowed four hits and one run, walked none and struck out four batters in 7 1/3 innings since his last call-up from Triple-A. Nicasio has been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a left abdominal strain and has gone 1-3 with one save and a 3.06 ERA in 38 games (one start) this year.BREAKOUT BOXThrough Sunday, 99 major-league pitchers had been victimized by at least two stolen bases in 2015 without a single runner being thrown out. Eight are Dodgers:Pitcher SB-SBAJuan Nicasio 7-7J.P. Howell 7-7Jim Johnson 6-6Kenley Jansen 3-3Adam Liberatore 3-3Joel Peralta 2-2Josh Ravin 2-2Yimi Garcia 2-2Source: HOUSTON — Thirty-three runners have stolen a base against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen since he debuted in 2010, including all three would-be base stealers this season. Only four men have ever been caught stealing with Jansen on the mound, an almost unthinkable 89.2 percent success rate for potential thieves.This is a natural consequence of being 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds. With so many large body parts moving so slowly, Jansen simply takes a long time to complete his delivery.Usually it doesn’t matter. Because he allows so few hits and walks, Jansen on average has less than one runner on base for every inning he pitches. Other times, like when Jansen blew a save in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros, it matters a great deal.Astros rookie shortstop Carlos Correa had been successful in 10 out of 13 stolen-base attempts before he touched Jansen for a single to lead off the ninth inning Sunday.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more