Kenley Jansen recorded the 606th strikeout of his career Friday night, the most by any reliever in franchise history. But there wouldn’t be any sort of celebration as it came in a blown save that led to the Los Angeles Dodgers dropping the series opener to the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings.
The blown save was Jansen’s third since the All-Star break, and sixth overall this season. He blew a career-high seven saves in 2012. The power right-hander didn’t have to wait long to exact revenge.
With the Dodgers again clinging to a one-run lead, Jansen was called on in the ninth inning to shut the door. “Every time I blow one, I want to be (back) out there,” Jansen said after Saturday’s victory.
As opposed to drawing Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Miguel Montero, Jansen drew the bottom-third of the Cubs’ lineup the second time around.
That consisted of Willson Contreras, Baez and Matt Szczur. Jansen bookended a 1-2-3 inning with strikeouts.
There was an uptick in his velocity after retiring the first two batters. “I was probably angry,” explained Jansen. “I have to figure out how to be angry all the time out there. I was just angry. I didn’t get a lot of sleep, just kept thinking about letting my teammates down.”
“I know I’m not perfect, but I want to be perfect and try to help us win.” The save was Jansen’s 38th of the season. Aside from his six misfires, it’s been another strong year.
Jansen’s strikeouts per nine innings (13.0) and strikeout rate (39.2 percent) are both hovering around the mark he’s reached the past four seasons. And Jansen’s 1.95 ERA would be his best since 2013 when he posted a 1.88 ERA in 75 games.
The 28-year-old is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, and it’s been speculated Jansen will receive a lucrative contract in the neighborhood of five years.