Roberts could use Jansen in middle innings

Dodgers may go to closer earlier in right situation with Kershaw, Wood also available

Roberts could use Jansen in middle innings

LOS ANGELES -- With Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood in the bullpen for Game 7 of the World Series, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday he has the flexibility to use closer Kenley Jansen in the middle innings if a threat arises.

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"I've talked to Kenley, and it's certainly a possibility," Roberts said. "I think in this situation and how we've managed Kenley, his openness to get as many outs as we feel necessary, he's open to it. When you have other guys available, and attacking a certain part of the lineup, that was kind of mine and Kenley's conversation."

Gm Date Results Video
1 Oct. 24 LAD 3, HOU 1 Watch
2 Oct. 25 HOU 7, LAD 6 (11) Watch
3 Oct. 27 HOU 5, LAD 3 Watch
4 Oct. 28 LAD 6, HOU 2 Watch
5 Oct. 29 HOU 13, LAD 12 (10) Watch
6 Oct. 31 LAD 3, HOU 1 Watch
7 Nov. 1 HOU 5, LAD 1 Watch

The situation would be any part of the top five in Houston's batting order.

Roberts said Kershaw should be able to give him 40-50 pitches or two-plus innings. Kershaw threw 94 pitches in Game 5 on Sunday, and Wednesday would have been his normal day for a bullpen session between starts. Wood should be able to go even longer, as he threw 84 pitches in Game 4 on Saturday.

"Since we didn't have to go to those guys [in Game 6], it really puts us in a good spot," Roberts said.

Roberts said a sweep of the clubhouse left him confident.

"We've come this far," he said. "We expect to win. Do we have to win? It would be disappointing if we didn't win. I just know that this is our moment."

Kershaw joked on Tuesday night that he could get 27 outs in Game 7. His tone changed only slightly before Wednesday's game.

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"I'll do whatever Doc wants me to do," Kershaw said. "I think everybody wants to have a hand in this thing. All hands on deck tonight, and whatever Doc wants, I'll be ready. We talked about it and I have some idea what to expect. But in the middle, you don't really know what to expect, and I understand that and I'll be ready to go."

Mechanical tweak key to Joc's success
Dodgers hitting instructor Shawn Wooten, credited by Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger as instrumental in their offensive success, said Joc Pederson's postseason success is the result of a mechanical flaw they discovered while he was riding the bench for most of September after an August demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

"On his leg lift, he was turning his toe in," Wooten said. "And to compensate, he was opening up. And now he points his toe straight down, and it made all the difference. We worked on it when he wasn't playing and he got two hits in Colorado the last weekend. He's been good with it ever since."

Joc comes alive in WS

Left off the National League Division Series roster, Pederson was added for the NL Championship Series and had six hits (all for extra bases) in 19 postseason at-bats for a 1.328 OPS entering Wednesday.

"This has been a problem for him since '15," said Wooten. "You can go back and look, this is just something he has a tendency of doing, but I really think he's gotten it now. He can take this into Spring Training with him and he can quickly notice it if he falls back into it. I'm really excited about where he's at."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.