There’s little doubt that Kenley Jansen has been one of the top relief pitchers in baseball throughout his 14-year career. He reached the 400-save level Wednesday night when he closed out the Atlanta Braves with a scoreless 9th inning in a 5-2 Red Sox victory. Jansen became the seventh relief pitcher in Major League history to save 400 games or more.
After the game, the normally placid Jansen was emotional about the achievement. In addition to the significant number, the fact that he did it with Justin Turner on the field with him made it more significant.
Turner and Jansen were teammates on the Los Angeles Dodgers during team’s glory years. “Pretty special,” Turner said, “About a week ago, knowing he was coming up on this, I went back and looked. I think I’ve now seen about 300 of the 400 saves.”
The Dodgers sent out an appreciative note to Jansen following his achievement, remembering his long association with the team.
Jansen spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Dodgers before he moved on to the Braves last season. The Red Sox brought him on board during the offseason, and he has played a huge role in the team’s early season success. Jansen has 9 saves in 10 opportunities for Boston, and he has a 1.17 earned run average in 11.2 innings.
Jansen appears to be in top form this season, as both his fastball and his slider have been dominant. His fastball has been clocked at 99 miles per hour this season.
Kenley Jansen, 35, is in the first year of a two-year contract with the Red Sox. If his health holds out, he says he would like to play until the age of 40