Kiké Hernández scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and A.J. Pollock added an insurance run with an RBI single as the Dodgers beat the Padres 6-4. This happened just moments after Kenley Jansen blew his 7th save of the year to force the game into extras.
After another bad outing from Jansen, the Dodgers found themselves going into extras in a 4-4 game. Hernández found his way on base with a walk, then took advantage of a hurting Francisco Mejia and stole second base.
“Mejia pinch-hit and [bloop] doubled and I was playing second base, and he tweaked his oblique on the slide and we made sure we kept an eye on him when they went back on defense. They took [catcher Austin] Hedges out of the game, so I knew [Mejia] had to catch, there’s no Plan C,” said Hernández.
“Warming up, [Mejia] was lobbing it to the pitcher, then he lobbed it to second base and I was like, ‘if he can’t throw, I’m going to go.’ Found a way to get to first. Told [first-base coach George lombard], ‘If he gives me a high leg kick, I’m going to go.’ Sure enough, he got his leg up and I took off.”
Now in scoring position, Hernández was in a good spot to score. Russell Martin hit a ground ball to shortstop, but an errant throw extended the inning and allowed Hernández to score the go-ahead run.
After that, Pollock hit an RBI single to center field, breaking an 0-5 night and giving the Dodgers an insurance run.
But now it’s time to talk about Jansen. After his 7th blown save of the year, it’s obvious that something’s wrong. His ERA is 3.73, his WHIP is 1.09, and his strikeout % is down to 32.4% while his hard-hit rate is 27.4%.
In this specific game, the problem wasn’t balls being hit hard. He gave up a bloop double to Mejia who advanced to third on a flyout. But then he completely lost control of a pitch, sending it to the backstop and scoring the tying run.
I get that there’s not an easy solution. Jansen is being paid a lot to be the Dodgers’ closer. While I think it’s a lousy excuse to keep him in high-pressure situations, the Dodgers aren’t going to do anything else.
When Jansen has a rough game, there are people saying this like, “it’s not like he’s trying to lose,” or “you can see that he clearly cares.” But this doesn’t change the effect. He may care that he’s struggling, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is.
All I’m trying to say is that I don’t trust Jansen to record the final out of the World Series, or any postseason series for that matter.
The Dodgers are headed to the city where they notoriously struggle, Pheonix, Arizona. They’ll play a 4 game series against the D-Backs at Chase Field. Game one will feature a matchup between Hyun-Jin Ryu and Merrill Kelly. Ryu is 12-4 with a 2.00 ERA and is looking to bounce back after surrendering 7 runs against the Yankees. Kelly is 9-13 with a 4.86 ERA. The game will begin at 6:40 pm.