Does Collins go familiar with Familia or genuine with Jansen?
By Cary Osborne
He didn’t say it, but it’s got to be pretty obvious that if the National League has a lead going into the ninth inning in the 87th Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday in San Diego, NL and New York Mets manager Terry Collins is going with his guy to close it out — Jeurys Familia.
But Kenley Jansen has a pretty strong argument to be the guy who gets the ball as well. Jansen is second in the NL to Familia in saves (31 to 27) and Familia is perfect on save opportunities, while the Dodger closer has three blown saves. But Jansen has him on ERA (1.16 to 2.55) and leads all MLB relievers with a 0.65 WHIP.
Jansen, perpetually humble, didn’t want to argue his case on Monday during the NL All-Star press conference in San Diego. But the guy who came into this season with the label of best closer in baseball to have not appeared in an All-Star Game is eager to have his moment on the big stage.
“I always want to be the guy,” Jansen said. “But I’m here to enjoy this moment and at the same time win the ballgame. To me, it doesn’t matter right now. I know I can do it. I know (Familia) can do it also. It’s up to the manager, what his decision is. At the end of the day, I want to help the Dodgers win a championship. I’m just down here enjoying the moment and trying to win that home-field advantage, and hopefully it will be us in the World Series.”
Jansen kiddingly said he might lobby Collins to choose him — after all, there’s some familiarity there.
Collins was the Dodgers director of player development in 2005 and 2006, Jansen’s first two professional seasons in the Dodger organization.
“Terry’s my man,” Jansen said. “If you asked him the question right now he would say I’d still be catching right now if he were still there.”
Turning the attention to the rest of the season, Jansen said he anticipates being stretched out in August for longer saves.
Jansen has three saves this season of at least four outs. On April 13, he earned the first five-out save of his career.
“I’m ready for it mentally,” Jansen said of going longer in save situations. “I’m ready, but I’ll also be honest with Doc (Dave Roberts). If I’m feeling I can’t do four outs, five outs, I’ll let him know. That’s the great thing about Doc — he’s protected me so much.”
Jansen said each time he’s entered the game in the eighth inning this season and completed the save he’s felt good physically the next day.