Why is Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen pitching so much?

Kenley Jansen

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is on pace to appear in 110 games this season. (Getty Images)

In the eighth inning Wednesday with the Dodgers leading the Phillies 5-2, right-handers Kenley Jansen and Chris Perez were warming up in the bullpen.

The decision of who would pitch the ninth inning literally came down to the final moment. Had Adrian Gonzalez delivered an RBI in the final at-bat of the inning, Perez would have gotten the ninth. Instead, Gonzalez flied out to deep center field and Jansen got the ball. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his eighth save.

It was Jansen’s 15th appearance of the season, which leads the major leagues.

If the decision to use Jansen over Perez didn’t completely defeat the purpose of having four former closers (Jansen, Perez, Brian Wilson and Brandon League) in the same bullpen, it certainly raised questions about Jansen’s workload. Specifically: Why is Jansen on pace to pitch 110 games this season if help is readily available?

“Every day is a different day,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Their usage dictates who we’re willing to use or not use today. We know the pace. There’s been some factors where our starters are 12th in innings pitched in our league. We’ve had to get almost 80 innings out of our bullpen. Our starters have thrown 120, something in that ballpark. We’ve asked a lot of innings out there. So guys are getting more usage.

“We’ve also had a lot of off-days where guys also got extra rest, so you’re willing to use them again. We’re in a section of time right now where we’re going to be 29 out of 30 or something like that. You don’t have those off-day luxuries. So those are ‘down days.’ You’re going to have guys that aren’t rested, so you’re not going to be able to use them. This is why we don’t think it’ll be like this way anyway, just because of the number of off-days that we’ve had and the number of innings our starters have pitched compared to our bullpen. It’s going to get better. We’re seeing it get better because guys are getting stronger.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.