Hyperbole alert: Kenley Jansen is now world's greatest reliever
Allow me to overreact for a moment.
During a trying Dodgers season, bright spots have been in short supply. Kind of like umpire Jerry Meals finding love in Pittsburgh.
But right now, right-hander Kenley Jansen is a monster. He is nearly unhittable. You’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me good.
Tuesday night he earned the save, and must have been just a bit amped about the prospect. He retired the Rockies in order on seven pitches -- and he struck out his last two batters!
It was truly impressive. Of the jaw-dropping variety.
Of course, Jansen has been on an impressive roll ever since he came off the disabled list June 18 with an inflamed shoulder. Impressive, as in he hasn’t given up a single run.
Not in 16 innings over 14 games. During that period, opponents are batting .059 against him (3 for 51) with seven walks and 26 strikeouts. That means over half his recorded outs have been strikeouts.
Jansen, 23, had three poor outings early in the year before rehabbing his shoulder. Those kind of innings can destroy a reliever’s ERA, which explains why his is a mediocre-looking 3.65. A blemish on Penelope Cruz.
Yet whether it’s because he’s going more to a slider, his cutter has just gotten better, he’s healthy or he’s simply learning how to pitch after starting his career as a catcher, right now Jansen is the one reliever you don’t want to face.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire