The Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are set to square off for an important three-game series this weekend. The Rockies are catching a huge break as Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is expected to miss the entire series. Jansen has been advised by a team cardiologist that he should not travel with the team.
The All-Star closer has experienced an atrial fibrillation episode twice in his career, and both occurrences have been while the Dodgers were playing in Colorado. The cardiologist believes that the high altitude in Denver is causing the atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat. Jansen has announced that he will honor the orders from the doctor and will stay home and skip out on the weekend series. Doug Roberts had this to say about his closer being out:
“Whenever we get that decision from the doctor it’s sort of a no-brainer, but you have to applaud Kenley for feeling good and wanting to still kind of see it through, but we sometimes have to take it out of the player’s hands to do what is best for him.”
Jansen just recently returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers after experiencing one of these episodes in early August. On August 9, Jansen was forced to call 911 when he was experiencing an accelerated heartbeat that would not slow down. Jansen was admitted to a Denver hospital where doctors had to shock his heart back into rhythm.
The Dodgers were forced to place Jansen on the 10-day disabled list following the incident, and Jansen began taking blood thinning medication. Jansen was not nearly as sharp upon his return to the Dodgers. The All-Star gave up runs in four consecutive outings and blew two saves in his first week back. Jansen has stopped taking the blood thinning medicine, but the doctors still fear that the problem will reappear in Colorado.
Jansen began having problems with his heart during the 2011 season and underwent surgery after the 2012 season to fix the issue. The Dodgers and Jansen have publicly announced that the same type of surgery will be necessary at the end of the year. The Dodgers are in full support of Jansen’s decision to stay back in Los Angeles this weekend.
Kenley Jansen, 30, has made the National League All-Star team the last three seasons. He was named the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year in 2016 and 2017. The hard-throwing right-hander is second in the National Leagues in saves this season with 34 despite missing time. He has made 59 appearances this season and has a 2.89 earned run average.
What’s Next for Dodgers
The Dodgers will give Jansen a throwing plan in an effort to keep his arm loose when they are in Colorado. Jansen will travel by himself to Cincinnati where the Dodgers will begin a three-game series against the Reds on Monday. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that the team will play without a designated closer this weekend in Colorado.
Los Angeles trails the Colorado Rockies by 1.5 games entering the series opener on Friday night. The Rockies and Dodgers will meet six times in the final month of the Major League Baseball season. The Dodgers are 76-64 and trail the St. Louis Cardinals by two games for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. That Dodgers will begin a four-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals next week.