Dodgers closer is 12th pitcher in MLB history with 1,000 strikeouts in relief
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out Padres catcher Austin Nola in the ninth inning on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego, becoming the 12th pitcher in major league history with 1,000 strikeouts in relief.
Jansen this season has 64 strikeouts and a 2.75 ERA in 52⅓ innings. His 29.2-percent strikeout rate is the second-lowest of his career, but that’s still good enough to rank in the top third of qualified major league relievers.
Jansen is the second relief pitcher to join the 1,000-strikeout club this season. Craig Kimbrel, now with the White Sox, reached the milestone on August 16. Jansen and Kimbrel are the only pitchers in major league history to reach 1,000 strikeouts in fewer than 700 innings pitched, per Stats Perform.
That only a dozen pitchers have amassed 1,000 strikeouts in relief — a group that includes Hall of Famers Hoyt Wilhelm, Goose Gossage, Lee Smith, Rollie Fingers, Mariano Rivera, and Trevor Hoffman — is impressive enough. But Jansen holds even more exclusive company.
He’s one of only four players with 1,000 relief strikeouts in one league, along with Billy Wagner, Rivera, and Hoffman.
Every single one of Jansen’s 1,000 strikeouts have been with the Dodgers, the third-highest total in relief for one team. Only Rivera (1,135 relief strikeouts with the Yankees) and Hoffman (1,029 with the Padres) have more.
Jansen is the best relief pitcher in Dodgers history, the franchise’s all-time leader in saves (340, which ranks 15th all-time/tied for 14th all-time with Rollie Fingers if 341), relief strikeouts, and games pitched (684). He’s fifth in relief innings (688⅓).
Jansen has six of the top 20 relief strikeout seasons in club history, in six of the seven-lowest innings totals among that group.
He’s only the 19th pitcher overall to strike out 1,000 batters, in any role, in Dodgers history.
Not bad for a former catcher.