Dave Roberts let the world know that Kenley Jansen would be pitching on Sunday night in New York. Kenley began warming in the 7th inning with the Dodgers trailing 2-1, before the team tied it up at 2 all. Coming in to a protect a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning isn’t something the big man is necessarily accustomed to, but he got the job done.
He retired the side in order on 10 pitches — including Jeff McNeil and Rookie of the Year lock Pete Alonso.
It marked the second straight outing where the closer looked impressive. The movement is there, and the velocity generally seems to be trending upward.
After the game, Jansen shared a breakthrough he had in Baltimore.
Kenley Jansen said the cutter is a "feel pitch" and it clicked when he was throwing long toss in Baltimore. "Whenever I feel it click just have to hold onto it, that's what you've been witnessing the last 2 games." #Dodgers
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) September 16, 2019
Kenley has famously said in the past that he “doesn’t really know how he throws the cutter,” and that he’s been blessed with natural movement… when right. Of course, he’s been searching for right for most of the season (and all of the second half).
Of course, if you’re not exactly sure how you throw your signature pitch, it can be a challenge to pinpoint mechanical adjustments through video and side work. In this case plainly playing long toss provided the “a-ha” moment that could set Kenley up for dominant run in October.
It’s only 2 outings, but baby steps are all he needs to take with 11 games to play.