Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen returning to All-Star form at perfect time

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Kenley Jansen’s rebound couldn’t be occurring at a better time for the Dodgers.

For a second straight game, the former All-Star closer was untouchable in the ninth inning. On Saturday he retired the side in order, recording the save in the Dodgers’ 3-1 victory over the Braves in Game 6 of the NLCS in Arlington, Texas.

A night earlier, the previously struggling Jansen struck out the side in a non-save situation.

“Two huge outings, not only for us but for him personally,” Justin Turner said. “You can just see the confidence he has attacking guys and that is the Kenley Jansen we all know and love.”

Before the game, Jansen said he didn’t care when he is summoned to pitch. In Game 3, he had been used in a mop-up role in the sixth inning after the Dodgers had blown open the game.

“There ain’t no role in the playoffs,” Jansen said. “It’s when can you be in the best position to help your team win.

Kenley JansenGetty Images

“I have been here for a long time now and there’s nothing else, but to have a ring here for this organization, to accomplish, that is the last thing I feel we need to accomplish here. We want it for everyone. The fans deserve it and it’s about winning a championship here.”

Corey Seager’s fifth homer of the series set a NLCS record. The shortstop entered play among a list of players, including Giancarlo Stanton (2020), Nelson Cruz (2011), B.J. Upton (2008) and Jim Thome (1999), who had produced at least four homers and 10 RBIs in a postseason series.

Tony Gonsolin will be a significant part of the Dodgers’ pitching plans for Game 7, but manager Dave Roberts wouldn’t commit to him as the starter, meaning the team could deploy an opener. Gonsolin allowed five earned runs over 4 ¹/₃ innings in Game 2.

“You could tell I was getting a little bit tired,” said Gonsolin, who hadn’t pitched in 17 days before that outing. “My sharpness definitely wasn’t there.”

Ian Anderson will get the start on full rest for the Braves.

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