It only took three appearances for Kenley Jansen to blow a save in 2021. That should make fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers extremely nervous.
On Wednesday, Jansen entered the bottom of the ninth inning against the Oakland A's with a 3-2 lead and was unable to hold it. Matt Chapman led off with the single, and Jansen followed that up by surrendering a five-pitch walk to Seth Brown. Tony Kemp sacrificed Chapman and Brown over, putting runners on second and third with one out. Then Elvis Andrus stepped up to the plate and did this:
That tied things at 3-3 and the game went to extra innings. The A's wound up scoring the the bottom of the 10th to take a 4-3 win.
Jansen has been shaky as a closer over the last few years. He was steadier in 2020, posting a 3.33 ERA with 11 saves in 13 chances. But his ERA in the postseason was 5.14 and he blew one save in three chances. In 2019, he blew eight saves and had a 3.71 ERA. That followed a 2018 campaign where he blew four saves and had an ERA of 3.01. He also blew two saves in five chances during the postseason.
This is Jansen's 12th season as a key part of the Dodgers' bullpen but it's fair to wonder if he should still be the team's closer. This will be his 10th season in the position and his time as an effective late-inning reliever might be over.