Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen made franchise history by finishing off Monday night's 4-1 win over the Nationals, earning his 162nd career save, one more than Eric Gagne for the most in franchise history.
"I was teammates with Eric, and to have Kenley break that Dodgers all-time saves record at home, to be a small, small part of it," manager Dave Roberts said after the game, on SportsNet LA. "I know Kenley is proud. He loves being a Dodger. To do it here in front of the home fans was special."
The save was also Jansen's 20th of the season, making him the only Dodgers pitcher with five seasons of 20 or more saves.
Jansen since his blown save on June 11 in San Francisco has retired 15 of his 16 batters faced, with 10 strikeouts in his last five games. He sports a 1.53 ERA with 35 strikeouts and just four walks in 29⅓ innings.
Opposing batters have hit .168/.200/.267 against Jansen this season, including just 5-for-45 (.111) at Dodger Stadium.
The save mark, and Jansen's career to date is remarkable considering he has only been pitching since 2009. He was signed out of Curacao in 2004 as a catcher, but couldn't hit. But he did have a great arm, and from the time he first pitched in a professional game it only took him one year to make the major leagues.
Jansen recorded his first save on July 25, 2010, one day after his major league debut, both against the Mets at Dodger Stadium. That saved a win by Clayton Kershaw, as did Monday night. Of Jansen's 162 career saves, 33 of them have been wins by Clayton Kershaw.
Since the start of 2010, Jansen's 162 saves rank seventh in baseball, and the only one ahead of him on the list with a better ERA+ (166) or opponent's OPS (.518) is Craig Kimbrel, atop the list with his 241 saves, 232 ERA+ and .466 opponent's OPS.
There are still more than three months remaining in the season, and Jansen already ranks ninth on the all-time list of most saves through the age-28 year. It seems reasonable that Jansen will pass Ugueth Urbina (174) for seventh place, and to catch Mitch Williams (186) for sixth place would require a season of at least 44 saves for Jansen, who set a career high with 44 saves in 2014.
Jansen could have easily been fourth if not higher on the active saves list if not for inexplicably starting each of 2011, 2012 and 2013 in a setup role. But in each of those years, Jansen eventually found his way into the closer's role, because the cream or the crop almost always rises to the top.
Now it's Jansen at the top in Dodgers franchise history.
⚾️ 1⃣6⃣2⃣ ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/0HqhK5vIqi— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 21, 2016
Gagne will be at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday in a pregame ceremony to honor Jansen.
The Dodgers try for a fifth straight win on Tuesday night, sending Scott Kazmir to the mound in the middle game against the Nationals, another 7:10 p.m. PT start. The Nationals will counter with right-hander Tanner Roark.