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Stingy Kenley Jansen off to great start

Kenley Jansen has been stuck on 100 career walks since last September.
Kenley Jansen has been stuck on 100 career walks since last September.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Dodgers finish off their four-game series against the Cubs on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field, let's appreciate the closer who is off to arguably the best start of his career.

Kenley Jansen got the save on Wednesday night, striking out a batter to give him 23 strikeouts in 13⅔ innings this season. But the key number so far for Jansen is zero.

As in no walks.

Jansen has 23 strikeouts and no walks, the most strikeouts by a Dodgers pitcher before his first walk of the season, dating back to at least 1914.

Jay Howell held the previous mark with 20 strikeouts to open 1991 in 19 innings over his first 13 appearances before his first walk. Jansen's save on Wednesday night was his 14th appearance of the season, also surpassing Howell for the most consecutive games by a Dodgers pitcher without a walk to start a season.

Tied for third on that list is Adam Liberatore, who began his big league career with 11 appearances without a walk earlier this season. Liberatore's streak saw its final game the same day Jansen returned from the disabled list.

Liberatore walked his only batter faced on Wednesday night, but on the season has issued just six walks to his 82 batters faced (7.31 percent), along with Jansen helping the Dodgers improve their walk rate in 2015. This year the Dodgers bullpen has walked 8.15 percent of batters faced, ranking 10th in MLB, improved from 9.89 percent and 27th in MLB.

Jansen's streak actually dates back to Sept. 22, 2014. He has 27 strikeouts since his last walk and 16 full appearances without a free pass.

It is the second-longest streak of his career, behind an 18-appearance streak from May 25 to June 29, 2013 that saw Jansen strike out 28 batters in between walks.

Jansen on the season has struck out exactly half of his 46 batters faced. His career high was 44.0 percent in 2011, when he also set the major league record with 16.10 strikeouts per nine innings (since surpassed; Jansen is now third). Every other season of Jansen's career has had a strikeout rate between 37.6 percent and 39.3 percent.

His career-low walk rate is 6.16 percent, set in 2013. This year, so far, it is zero. Enjoy peak-efficiency Jansen.

Jansen threw 12 pitches on Tuesday night, and only 10 on Wednesday, so he might be available on Thursday. So far this season, Jansen has pitched on two straight days three different times, but so far never on three straight days. Jansen pitched on three straight days three different times in 2014.

Game info

Time: 11:20 a.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network