Yesterday had a chance to be one of the best Braves wins of the season. With almost no hope left, trailing by four runs entering the ninth inning, they strung together five runs off two homers from Michael Harris and Robbie Grossman to take the lead in Seattle. But even with all the momentum, things didn’t feel anywhere close to safe with Kenley Jansen prepping to put the game on ice in the ninth, which he was unable to do.
Jansen’s struggles continued as he gave up a mammoth home run to Julio Rodriguez on a hanging breaking ball to tie the game. Two batters later, it happened again. This time, to Eugenio Suarez, who blasted his 30th home run of the season and walked the Mariners off in front of a sellout crowd.
The loss was heartbreaking, putting the Braves 1.5 games behind the Mets in the NL East with just over 20 games left to play. This team has shown plenty of resilience in bouncing back from these type of defeats; however, they won’t continue to do so if Brian Snitker keeps trotting Kenley Jansen out to close games. Unfortunately, Snitker didn’t seem too concerned with his closer’s performance in his postgame press conference.
"He's leading the league in saves."
Brian Snitker on Kenley Jansen ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/swLmqH9Swi
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) September 11, 2022
Contrary to what many people think, Brian Snitker isn’t an idiot. He’s watching the same thing we are; he just has a lot more patience than we do and doesn’t mind sticking behind his guys. With that being said, he can’t keep doing so with Jansen.
Jansen has completely lost control on the mound. He’s having trouble throwing strikes, and when he does find the plate, it’s usually right over the heart of it. In his past seven save opportunities, he’s blown three of them, boasting a 11.12 ERA. On the season, he owns a 3.91 ERA. This is not the same Kenley Jansen that has been one of the best closers of all time over his career. He’s been no better than Will Smith, and the Braves have other options, mainly Raisel Iglesias.
Iglesias was closing games for Angels and Reds since 2017 and has been one of the better ninth inning men in the league. He’s more than prepared to take over for Jansen and boasts a 0.57 ERA since the Braves traded for him at the deadline. I was all for giving Jansen an opportunity to find his groove again, but it’s September now, and things are only getting worse. Switching closers could be the difference in the Braves winning their fifth consecutive division title or playing in the Wild Card Series.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire