Dodgers closer allows run in third straight game for first time in career
By David Adler
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen had not given up a run in three straight games in his career before Friday night's series opener against the Mets at Dodger Stadium, which the Dodgers lost, 2-1.
He entered the game with a 1.53 ERA and 0.509 WHIP, and he hadn't lost a game since last June. And prior to the ninth inning Friday, the Mets had managed just 24 runs in their last 15 games -- including a seven-run outburst last Sunday.
So something didn't really have to give -- but it did, as Jansen gave up the go-ahead run.
Lucas Duda led off the ninth with a double when a Jansen cutter floated high and back over the plate, blooping an opposite-way hit just inside the left-field line. On the next batter, Jansen stabbed at and missed Wilmer Flores' chopper back to the mound, giving the Mets runners on the corners. One Kevin Plawecki sacrifice fly later and the Dodgers were trailing.
Jansen wasn't about to beat himself up, though.
"This loss don't mean anything," he said. "We've got a really good team. We can beat any of these guys. It's a long season going on. We're still in first place. We just can't let this bother us, can't let this bother me."
He's right -- at the halfway point of their 2015 season, the Dodgers are still in first place, at 45-36. That's the same record they had through 81 games a year ago, when they won 94 games and the National League West. And this year's Dodgers have a three-game lead over the second-place Giants, whom Los Angeles trailed by 2 1/2 games at the halfway point in 2014.
It hasn't been all smooth sailing. Jansen's recent rough patch is one small example, although manager Don Mattingly wasn't particularly worried, either.
"Jam-shot down the line, ball off his glove -- if we catch that ball and we have a [fly ball] and a strikeout, he gives up nothing," Mattingly said. "I don't think they hit anything that hard tonight, but he is in a little stretch where he's given up a run, so it is what it is."
"What it is" is also another game where Clayton Kershaw was left out of the win column, despite pitching another strong game -- seven innings, one run, seven strikeouts. Kershaw's focus, though, was more on the Dodgers' consistency than his own record.
"I feel like we're kind of going one win, one loss recently -- not the consistent win streaks that we were accustomed to early," Kershaw said. "But I think we're doing OK. I think there's a lot more in there for us to play better. I feel like we're a little bit in neutral right now, but we're also stringing some wins together. We're in first at the halfway point, so there's a lot to be said for that."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.