Dodger and all-star closer Jansen fail to meet fans expectations with multiple losses
Fans had little tolerance for defeat
July 29, 2021
Is it good or bad that Dodgers fans have extremely high expectations of how their team and players perform on the field? Seemingly demanding perfection every game.
On the one hand, they invest their time and money into the team and have every right to desire that it pays them dividends in the form of team wins and successful individual player performance.
On the other side of the coin, one has to ask themselves, 'where do I draw the line between expectations of the team winning every game and each player to play to perfection, and to err is human, to forgive is divine?'
You know these two old cliché's...nobody is perfect and you can't please everyone.
Fans are probably also thinking that the players are getting large salaries, especially the elite ones, and should be earning that salary with good performance on a daily basis.
One Dodger player comes to mind...all-star closer Kenley Jansen.
Jansen recently blew three consecutive save attempts and the "boo-birds" let him have it at all three games at Dodger Stadium. Did the fans forget that he led the National League in saves in 2017, was a two-time NL Reliever of the Year (2016, 2017), and a three-time MLB All-Star (2016, 2017, 2018)? And he should have been selected to the 2021 All-Star game, but was snubbed. In 2019, Jansen also became the 30th pitcher to reach 300 career saves, which is a prestigious accomplishment. He's also now a World Series Champion (2020).
The fans must also keep in focus that so far this season Jansen is one of the top two or three closers in the majors.
Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, was asked about his closer situation after all three games and each time he said that Jansen was their guy and would continue to be. After one of the blown saves versus the Giants, Roberts attempted to let him off the hook by blaming the umpire for a blown call on a checked swing that would have ended the game. Consequently, Roberts got tossed for arguing, further displaying his dedication to his star closer.
"I don't think all the blame should be on Kenley," Roberts said. "The game should have been over a couple of times in that inning. There's no doubt in my mind that he went and the game should have been over. In that spot, with two contending teams, you just can't miss that call. We should have won that game, and it's a game we really wanted, we had, and we didn't."
Roberts also mentioned that hearing the boos was really upsetting. He felt bad for Jansen.
Although, after his second blown save, Jansen, the consummate professional, felt optimistic.
"I just gave everything I've got," Jansen said. "Obviously, I had two hiccups to start the second half. Nothing I can do about it, but put it behind me and stay focused, because we have a long way to go here to win a championship."
Because the Dodgers have a long way to go this season, Roberts needs to be mindful about not wearing out his star closers arm.
Jansen threw 27 pitches during the second blown save disaster and then Roberts gave him the closing assignment the next night too, which was the third failed save in which he totaled a season-high 33 pitches. It was a bit perplexing why Roberts made that decision having him go back-to-back-to-back instead of giving him at least a one day of rest. But Jansen has been successful in back-to-back saves in the past.
On Saturday, Jansen broke his save slump by preserving a 1-0 win over the Rockies, turning the boo-birds into hummingbirds who were "humming" and cheering and praising his effort.
At the moment, the Dodgers are fourth overall in the standings at 61-40 and two games behind the Giants in the NL West. And doing so with elite players on the IL. Therefore, the fans need not be too stressed.
So, as the season continues to unfold, hopefully Dodgers fans can be more patient, compassionate, tolerant, understanding, and forgiving of their team...and especially of Jansen.