Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen had an on-going Major League record of strikeouts to start a season without issuing a walk that was snapped Sunday afternoon, as with one out in the ninth inning a 3-2 pitch to Nolan Arenado was in the dirt, rewarding Arenado first base.
Jansen’s historic streak was snapped at 51 strikeouts, breaking Adam Wainwright’s previous record of 35 strikeouts without a walk to start the 2013 season. Jansen was also closing in on the overall Major League record of most consecutive strikeouts without a walk at any point in the season.
That record belongs to Curt Schilling, who struck out 56 batters before issuing a walk in 2002, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Jansen re-signed with the Dodgers in the offseason on a five-year, $80 million contract, taking less money to remain in Los Angeles.
He has been worth every penny of that contract thus far, as he’s yielded a 0.83 ERA, 0.53 FIP and 0.55 WHIP while converting all 17 save opportunities in 32.2 innings of work. Jansen’s strikeout total is up to 52, compared to just the one walk.
While Jansen saw his streak snapped, he nonetheless converted his first five-out save of the year, and first in the regular season since April 2016. Jansen did have five-out and six-out saves during last year’s playoffs.
What’s more, the former catcher drove an RBI double over Charlie Blackmon’s head in the eighth inning. The extra-base hit was the first of Jansen’s career, and was further notable in the sense that it came off Rockies closer Greg Holland.
In addition to all the feats he has accomplished this season, Jansen also added an immaculate inning to his resumé on May 18 against the Miami Marlins, striking out all three hitters he faced on just nine pitches.
Jansen presumably will be headed to his second straight All-Star game in just a couple weeks, with the Midsummer Classic taking play on Tuesday, July 11 in Miami.