By Jessica Camerato
BOSTON - Bobby Jenks stood up at his locker and addressed the media with brutal honesty.
He had just given up two earned runs in one inning, blown a save, and picked up his second loss of the season. Jenks lay his frustrations on the line.
I dont even know what to say right now, he said. Im going out there, I feel terrific. All my stuff is there, just the results arent. I dont know what to make of it.
The Boston Red Sox had a 4-3 lead over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night when Jenks entered the game in the seventh inning. They had been 9-0 this season when leading after six innings. The Mariners, on the other hand, were 1-12 when trailing after six. That all changed when the Mariners scored a pair of runs off two doubles, a single, and a walk off Jenks to take a deciding 5-4 lead.
After starting the season with four hitless outings, Jenks (1-2, 8.64 ERA) is left searching for answers that are hard to come by.
It seems like every time Im going out there right now, everythings just seeming to find a hole or flare in somewhere, he said. They are good hitters, but the way Im feeling right now, it shouldnt be happening.
So how does the pitcher, who has earned 173 saves over his career, find a way out of this situation? For Jenks, the answer to that question isnt difficult at all.
Its just the competitor in you, he told CSNNE.com. Going out there, obviously you arent thinking, Im going to go out there and give up two leadoff singles or doubles or whatever. Just that competitiveness thats inside you, thats what fuels me.
Jenks feels mentally strong. His confidence, regardless of how many hits he gives up, is not wavering. He looks ahead to the next pitch rather than getting psyched out by the last one.
Im out there if I get a guy on, Im getting a double play that next pitch, he said. Mentally, Im there. Im not thinking bad things.
Seven years in the Majors has taught Jenks the importance of staying focused and cool under pressure. He doesnt give himself any rah-rah pep talks on the mound. He finds it is more beneficial to take a step back and assess the situation.
In those moments you dont really want to psyche yourself up, he explained. You want to slow the game down. When Tek comes out there, he wants to get your breath under your control, starting thinking clearly, making smart pitches. Thats where that all comes into play, through experience.
Like Jenks himself, Jason Varitek believes the pitcher will turn his outings around.
We need Bobby, and Bobbys stuff is good, Varitek told CSNNE.com. Hes good. And hes going to have a lot more outs than hes going to give up runs.
He continued, Weve got his back. I really 100 percent believe that hes been just kind of a product of some weird stuff going on. And when those things happen, weve just got to slow the game down and the do the things we have to do to make sure were ok. He could have really let that game get away, and he didnt.
Jenks will continue to review game film and analyze his pitches. He has a sense of urgency to get better now so that the Red Sox can enjoy victory later on in the season.
Said Jenks, I got some work to do obviously for numbers-wise, but when we win this stuff, were going to look back and not remember April.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba