Kenley Jansen knows how quickly fans can turn on a closer. He saw it happen to Jonathan Broxton.
Broxton, now a setup man for the Cincinnati Reds, made two All-Star teams with the Dodgers. But Broxton never lived down his failures in the 2008 and 2009 playoffs and spent his final seasons in Los Angeles as a divisive figure among fans.
As the closer on a contending team, Jansen now carries the burden that once belonged to Broxton.
Jansen, in his first season as closer, views this as an opportunity.
"I'm ready," Jansen said.
Of how a blown save at the wrong time could alter how fans perceive him, Jansen said, "It doesn't bother me at all. It doesn't give me extra pressure. If you help the team win, the fans are going to be with you."
Right now, he's doing his part.
Before Monday, Jansen had converted 15 of his last 18 save opportunities and posted a 1.14 earned-run average over his last 23 appearances.
Jansen said he benefited from the Dodgers' midseason rut.
Jansen appeared in 32 of the Dodgers' first 65 games. But from June 16 to July 17, he pitched only 10 times. The stretch included a 25-game period during which the Dodgers won only six times.
"I've taken advantage of that rest," he said.
His fastball velocity was down in the high 80s and low 90s at one point. He's back to touching the mid-90s.
Jansen knows he can't count on another losing streak to refresh him for the final stretch of the season, nor does he want to. So, he's doing more cardiovascular work before games. He's also lifting fewer weights.
"I have to step up my game to the next level," he said.
Don Mattingly discusses Melky Cabrera
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly was Melky Cabrera's hitting coach on the New York Yankees from 2005 to 2007.
Mattingly said he was "shocked" by news that Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy. Mattingly said he wasn't suspicious of the improved performance of the San Francisco Giants outfielder, who was the most valuable player of the All-Star game.
"Not at all," Mattingly said. "I've seen Melky in New York. I thought he was a good young player. I thought he was going to get better and better."
When Mattingly saw Cabrera move to Atlanta in 2010 and bat only .255, he attributed that to a change in leagues.
Of how Cabrera resurrected his career in Kansas City last year, Mattingly said, "It looked like he got himself in better shape. In Atlanta, he was a little heavy, he wasn't moving as good. I just chalked it up to a guy taking it a little more seriously and working."
Jerry Sands has a 21-game hitting streak with triple-A Albuquerque, a franchise record. … Jerry Hairston has started a rehabilitation assignment at the Dodgers' spring-training complex in Arizona. … James Loney will play host to the Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza on Thursday at Lucky Strike Lanes LA Live. Matt Kemp, Shane Victorino and Mattingly are also scheduled to attend. Visit dodgers.com/bowling for more information.