The Dodgers completed their brief two-game sweep of the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night thanks in large part to some dominant pitching. But Clayton Kershaw wasn't the only one doing his thing on the mound on Wednesday. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out two in the ninth inning to finish out the win.
It was the 38th save of the season for Jansen and the 100th of his career, just the sixth Dodgers pitcher to ever reach that milestone.
Jansen had some hiccups earlier in the season, many fueled by some poor luck on balls in play, but has recovered nicely. He has converted 38 of 42 save opportunities this season (90.5 percent), including 18 of his last 19 opportunities.
With seven more saves Jansen would join Eric Gagne as the only Dodgers closers to save 45 games in a season.
Jansen allowed three runs in a blown save to the Padres on June 20 in San Diego, where the Dodgers head next. But after pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Ken Howell made some adjustments to Jansen's delivery the next day, the Dodgers closer really has been lights out, with two runs allowed in 24 games — an 0.73 ERA — with 38 strikeouts and only four walks in 24⅔ innings.
Don Mattingly has been more judicious in his use of Jansen of late, at least as much as is in his control. Since the All-Star break Jansen has pitched on back-to-back days only three times, and hasn't done so since Aug. 6. Jansen is on pace to pitch in 69 games and roughly 65⅔ innings, less than the 75 games and 76⅔ innings he pitched in 2013, both career highs.
Jansen on the season has 87 strikeouts, second-most by a relief pitcher in the National League (Jake Diekman of the Phillies has 89 strikeouts), and his 393 strikeouts since the beginning of 2011 are just five behind Jonathan Broxton for most in a four-year span by a Dodgers reliever.
In August, Jansen has faced 40 batters, and struck out 19, with just two walks.