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What’s wrong with Kenley Jansen?


Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen blew his second save of the season on Tuesday night against the Padres, serving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extras. Thankfully for the Dodgers, they were able to plate four runs in the 12th to win 7-3.

On the season, Jansen is 2-for-4 in save chances with a 8.10 ERA in eight innings. Jansen blew only one save all of last season. The right-hander has already walked three of the 31 batters he’s faced, a 9.7 percent walk rate that would obliterate his quite low walk rates of the last three seasons (2.7%, 4.4%, 4.0%). And he has only struck out seven of those 31 batters. That 22.6 percent K-rate is much lower than his career rate around 40 percent.

Another figure that sticks out is velocity. According to Statcast, Jansen averaged 94.8 MPH on his fastball and 93.3 MPH on his cutter last year. Those numbers are down to 92.9 and 91.1 MPH, respectively, to start this season.

For what it’s worth, Jansen isn’t worried. Per ESPN, he said after last night’s game, “I have confidence in myself that I will find it. It’s just a matter of time. Hopefully I can get an opportunity tomorrow because tonight — that’s not who I am.”

Manager Dave Roberts said Jansen’s cutter hasn’t been up to par. Talking about last night’s game, he said, “It was just the characteristics of his cutter just weren’t doing what it typically does. There were some good throws in there with the cut. But there were some others that were just straight as a string.”

The defending National League champion Dodgers have gotten off to a disappointing 7-9 start. They will certainly need Jansen to correct course if the club is going to defend its throne atop the league.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.