If you haven’t heard already, the Dodgers lost both their closer and any hopes for this season when Kenley Jansen was hospitalized in Colorado with an irregular heartbeat. While it took around three days for the details to come public, it took only one day before the Dodgers began to feel the effects of losing their closer.
Jansen was eating breakfast on Thursday at the hotel diner in Colorado when he began to feel his heart beating in an unusual manner. Jansen immediately called 9-1-1 and was taken the hospital. The doctors in the emergency room were forced to use an electric shock to get his heart to beat properly again.
Jansen is now on blood-thinning medication and he will be on the disabled list until September. With this, the Dodgers chances of winning another game are gone until September.
Why do I say this? It’s actually really clear. Jansen was the only bright spot in the Dodger bullpen. The rest of the ‘pen has been full of a bunch of average guys all year. These pitchers have been forced to pitch in high-leverage situations when they really belong in the middle of an average team’s ‘pen.
The Dodgers have lost four of the five games they’ve played since Jansen was hospitalized. In each of those losses, the bullpen has blown a lead in the seventh inning or later. Let’s take it loss-by-loss:
Friday night: Dodgers 4 Rockies 5
The Dodgers had a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning in Denver, when Zac Rosscup gave up a two-run home run to Rockies’ rookie, Ryan McMahon. The Dodgers were unable to recover and they lost 5-4.
Saturday night: Dodgers 2 Rockies 3
It was a low-scoring game in Colorado through eight and a half innings. The Dodgers had a 2-0 lead when Scott Alexander came in to close the game in the ninth. If you remember, Alexander is the man the Dodgers signed to replace Brandon Morrow.
Alexander gave up a two-out double before Roberts decided to bring in JT Chargois. Chargois was given one job: record two outs. He failed. He hit a batter, then recorded another out. But just when it seemed like the Dodgers would win, Friday’s hero, McMahon, stepped up to the dish. He proceeded to hit a walk-off three-run home run. Once again, the Dodger bullpen had failed.
Sunday afternoon: Dodgers 3 Rockies 4
The game was tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning and all the Dodgers need to do was to record three outs, then score some runs in the top of the tenth. But once again, the bullpen got in the way. Dylan Floro, one of the Dodgers’ “big” bullpen upgrades in July, took the mound.
Due to a single, an error, an intentional walk, and a productive out, the Dodgers found themselves in a very familiar situation. Two runners in scoring position with two outs and McMahon at the plate. This time, Dave Roberts wisely decided to walk McMahon. This set up a forceout at any base. They only needed one out.
But Floro still found a way to blow the game. With the bases loaded, Roberts trusted Floro with one job: throw strikes. Floro failed. He lost command of his pitches and walked Chris Iannetta. Once again, the bullpen blew the game.
Monday night: Giants 5 Dodgers 2
Clayton Kershaw gave the Dodgers everything they needed to win. Eight innings of one-run ball, an RBI single, and a chance to beat the Giants 2-1. There was only one problem…the bullpen. They needed to record three outs to win.
Alexander failed miserably again. He let two runners reach base with one out, recorded a second out, then hit a batter on a full count to load the bases. Once again, the Dodgers only needed one out. But instead, Alexander gave up a two-run single, then an RBI singles to back-to-back batters. This gave the Giants a 4-2 lead. The Giants then scored another run on a fielding error, giving them a 5-2 lead. Once again, the Dodgers couldn’t rebound.
So is there hope? Not much. Jansen is still throwing and doing light workouts. He will travel with the Dodgers to Seattle, but he will not be activated from the DL until he is cleared play baseball by a cardiologist.
In the meantime, the Dodgers have a stacked lineup, causing them to keep Max Muncy on the bench, while their bullpen is in shambles. They spent the trade deadline adding bats to the lineup, without facing the real weakness. If they had traded for someone like Zack Britton or Brad Hand, this part of the season would be totally different.