With an 8-2 lead in the sixth inning on Thursday, it looked like the Dodgers wouldn’t need Kenley Jansen. But after the Diamondbacks rallied to within two runs, the closer was called on to finish off the Dodgers’ sixth consecutive road series win, and in doing so made club history.
Jansen’s save on Thursday was his 30th in 31 opportunities in 2017, making him the first Dodgers pitcher with four seasons of 30 or more saves.
Most Dodgers 30-save seasons
|Kenley Jansen||4 (2014-17)|
|Todd Worrell||3 (1995-97)|
|Eric Gagne||3 (2002-04)|
|Jeff Shaw||2 (1999, 2001)|
|Takashi Saito||1 (2007)|
|Jonathan Broxton||1 (2009)|
Those four seasons have been consecutive, for the moment making Jansen the only pitcher in MLB with 30 saves each year from 2014-17. But he will likely soon be joined by Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, sitting on 28 saves, two saves away from his seventh consecutive 30-save campaign.
Aroldis Chapman saved 30 or more games five straight years from 2012-16, but has just 14 saves so far in 2017.
In Dodgers history, Jansen broke his tie with Todd Worrell and Eric Gagne, each of whom had three seasons of 30 or more saves. In all, there have only been 14 Dodgers seasons with 30 or more saves, accomplished by six different pitchers.
All of Gagne’s 30-save seasons featured at least 45 saves. He is the only Dodgers pitcher with three 40-save seasons, though with 10 more in 2017 Jansen could match him. Jansen saved 44 games in 2014 and 47 more in 2016.
Jansen on Thursday induced two pop outs and a ground out to close out the Diamondbacks, and on the season sports a 1.25 ERA in 48 games, with 77 strikeouts and five walks in 50⅓ innings.
Opposing batters are hitting just .156/.188/.235 against Jansen this season.
Jansen’s reward for 30 saves? It looks like he got to change his nickname for his players’ weekend jersey coming Aug. 25-27.