Kenley Jansen recorded the save in Tuesday night’s streak-busting win for the Dodgers, and he is poised to end his regular season on a record-setting note while also being more rested for a busy postseason.
Jansen struck out three on Tuesday, giving him 101 strikeouts on the season. This is his fourth year with 100 or more strikeouts — he also has seasons of 99 and 96 — the most in Dodgers history.
Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage are the only pitchers in big league history with more seasons with 100 strikeouts in relief, with five.
With only seven walks, Jansen could also join select company. There have only been two seasons in MLB history with a pitcher striking out 100 or more batters with single-digit walks — Andrew Miller (123 strikeouts, 9 walks in 2016), and Koji Uehara (101, 9 in 2013).
Jansen this season leads relief pitchers in FIP (1.19), SIERA (1.11), fWAR (3.4), and is second in ERA (1.29), xFIP (1.87), strikeout rate (42.4%), walk rate (2.9%) and K-BB% (39.5%). Opposing batters are hitting .175/.207/.259, the sixth best OPS allowed among relievers with 100 batters faced.
Most 100-K relief seasons
|Rollie Fingers||5 (1972-73, 1975-77)|
|Goose Gossage||5 (1975, 1977-78, 1980, 1982)|
|Dick Radatz||4 (1962-65)|
|Rob Dibble||4 (1989-92)|
|Duane Ward||4 (1989-92)|
|Billy Wagner||4 (1997, 1999, 2003, 2010)|
|Aroldis Chapman||4 (2012-15)|
|Kenley Jansen||4 (2013-14, 2016-17)|
Teammate and primary setup man Brandon Morrow is third in opponent OPS, allowing .191/.240/.213.
Jansen’s 1.29 ERA is close to a Dodgers record. With at least five more scoreless innings to close out his regular season, Jansen would finish with the best ERA in franchise history for a season with at least 40 innings pitched. The current mark is held by Hong-Chih Kuo, at 1.20 in 2010, with Eric Gagne’s 2003 season close behind at 1.202.
With 62⅔ innings this season, Jansen is nearing his 2016 total of 68⅔ innings, but his usage has been much different in 2017.
Jansen’s four-out save Tuesday was his 10th save of longer than one inning this season, compared to five in the 2016 regular season. But Jansen has appeared in 60 games this season, after 71 in 2016.
Last year, Jansen worked on back-to-back days 18 different times, plus three more instances when he pitched on three consecutive days. In 2017, Jansen has worked on back-to-back days only 13 times, and hasn’t pitched three days in a row.
During the playoffs in 2016, Jansen pitched in seven of the Dodgers’ 11 games — including all five wins — with five appearances longer than an inning. He had a three-inning game, a two-inning game, and a 51-pitch, 2⅓-inning outing in Game 5 of the NLDS.
If Jansen’s workload this October is anything like last year, that extra rest throughout the season could come in handy.