Yeah, tonight sucked. Visions of a victory, a series win and a potential sweep — not to mention staying in first place — were obliterated by Kenley Jansen's ninth-inning mental lapse.
But I'm going to tap into my inner Jon Weisman to find some perspective here. We actually learned some positive things tonight:
1. Don Mattingly is a steady skipper. In the bottom of the ninth, Prime Ticket cameras caught Mattingly calmly reassuring a shellshocked Jansen in the Dodgers dugout (above). Remember, this was moments after the incident, as Twitter was exploding with the force of a thousand suns. Whether he learned such poise from Joe Torre or if it's just part of his Midwestern DNA, that gesture alone gives me so much faith in our manager.
2. Kenley Jansen has character.
Kenley Jansen was among the first guys at his locker stall after the game, answered every question.— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) July 15, 2012
It didn't win the game today, but over the course of what could be a grueling second half, it'll serve him well.
3. Better now than later. As SoSG reader Paul put it, "I'd rather have him learn from that mistake in July than October." Who can forget Paulie "Fuck the Dodgers" Lo Duca tagging out Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew at the plate in the 2006 playoffs? At least Jansen's ninth-inning focus doesn't figure to be a gaffe that'll haunt us later.
4. A spoonful of Vinny helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down-wown, the medicine go down. As SoSG Dusty put it, "This one seemed tougher to bear if one was in the Yard." Vin's reaction was along the lines of "Hello, what's this?" Again, Twitter: not so nice.
5. It was a team loss. And as SoSG Nomo put it, "Yeah, Kenley fucked up, but they just kept letting the Padres back in. 3-1 became 3-2, 4-2 became 4-4, 6-4 became 6-5, etc." Aaron Harang allowed two home runs. Ronald "Visa Issues" Belisario allowed a run in the eighth. The Dodgers stranded the bases loaded in the third. Jansen came into the game with no room for error.
So we have thirteen hours to get the bile out, because Mattingly & Co. will have forgotten about this by tomorrow's game.