Do not read my lips: Kenley Jansen looks like Dodgers’ new closer

Is Kenley Jansen the Dodgers' new closer? Manager Don Mattingly's answer is tough to read.
(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Perhaps you noticed it was Kenley Jansen, and not the struggling Brandon League, who came in to get the final out and the save Tuesday against the Nationals.

Which naturally indicated that Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly has decided to change closers again. Unless it doesn’t, because if you simply listen to Mattingly, you could think anything.

The simple question was, is Jansen now the closer?

“We’ll see,” Mattingly said. “I don’t know if I really have to set roles. We always talk about where we’re at in the lineup. I know we like to create controversies and all that.

“Honestly, I prefer having roles where everybody knows where they’re at. But tonight I felt like Kenley was the best shot of getting that guy out.”

Clear as morning fog. Maybe there’s a new closer, maybe not. He doesn’t have to set roles, but he would like to. And, you know, it’s the media that loves to create controversy.


Better to forget all his gobbledygook and just go with what your eyes tell you: Jansen is the closer until further notice.

If he was the better arm to strike out Tyler Moore for the final out Tuesday, he will be again Wednesday. Until he struggles, expect Jansen to be the main closer from now on.

Jansen said he’s good either way.

“Honestly, it don’t matter,” he said. “Whenever the [bullpen] phone rings for me, it’s time to work. Go out there and help the team win, that’s all that’s on my mind. I don’t watch the roles. That’s for Donnie and the front office to deal with.”

Last year, when he took over the closer’s role from Javy Guerra, Jansen said Mattingly called him into his office to tell him. This season, there’s been no meeting.

“This year was totally different,” he said. “I’m just trying to pick my teammates up and help the team win. That’s all I’m thinking about.”

And I’m thinking Mattingly has a new closer.