Jansen mysteriously absent as Dodgers collapse in ninth in Denver

Kenley Jansen was at Coors Field, but never on the mound as the Dodgers bullpen blew a ninth-inning lead while using four pitchers in the inning Wednesday.

Jim McIsaac

Questions surrounded Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers after the closer was declared unavailable during and after Wednesday’s ninth-inning loss at Colorado, with broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe adding to the mystery by sending his "prayers" to the player.

A bizarre scene unfolded at Coors Field, and the end result left the Dodgers saddled with a painful 7-6 loss, and perhaps a much greater problem.

Los Angeles entered the bottom of the ninth holding a 6-4 lead — hardly a safe cushion in the mile-high altitude in Colorado, and seemingly a no-brainer spot for Jansen.

But as the inning began, lefty Adam Liberatore was back on the mound after closing out the eighth. Michael McKenry led off with a single and Charlie Blackmon’s ground-rule double put runners on second and third with no outs.

Exit Liberatore and enter . . . Yimi Garcia? Back-to-back walks made it 6-5, and sent Garcia to the showers. Time to bring in Jansen? Nope. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly turned to . . . J.P. Howell, another lefty. With Carlos Gonzalez batting, a passed ball by catcher Yasmani Grandal tied the game, and Mattingly called for an intentional walk to CarGo.

With the save situation gone, it seemed to make little sense to turn to Jansen at that point. And indeed, the Dodgers brought in righty Chris Hatcher to finish the job — which he did in surrendering a walk-off sacrifice fly to Nolan Arenado.

Four pitchers, three runs, two hits, no closer and a 7-6 loss. Ouch.

Meanwhile, fans on Twitter, people in the stands — even the Dodgers’ own play-by-play guys — were asking where in the world was Jansen.

After the game, we got an answer. Sort of.

Rumors of a trade began to swirl. But those were shot down.

Later the Dodgers clarified by saying that Jansen wasn’t feeling well, but that was after all of the speculation both in the Dodgers locker room and outside of it.

Then former Dodgers pitcher and current ESPN analyst Sutcliffe tweeted out his prayers for Jansen.

Adding to the concern over the 27-year-old closer is his health history. He has pitched in only six games this season (though he has team-high five saves and an ERA of 0.00) and missed the first month-and-a-half after offseason foot surgery. What’s more, after pitching five times in the first 11 days of his comeback, Jansen has pitched only once since May 25 — a three-out save against the Rockies on Tuesday.

He also underwent surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat in October 2012.

The Dodgers return home to play the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday — which just happens to be Kenley Jansen Bobblehead Night.

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