LOS ANGELES -- Kenley Jansen is filling up the resume this season, from a first All-Star berth to the franchise save record to the latest milestone: tying Jim Brewer for the Dodgers' career record for strikeouts by a reliever.But what mattered more to Jansen on Wednesday night, when Ehire Adrianza
LOS ANGELES -- Kenley Jansen is filling up the resume this season, from a first All-Star berth to the franchise save record to the latest milestone: tying Jim Brewer for the Dodgers' career record for strikeouts by a reliever.
But what mattered more to Jansen on Wednesday night, when Ehire Adrianza became his 604th strikeout victim, was locking down a 1-0 Dodgers win over the Giants. It extended the Dodgers' National League West lead to three games and gave Jansen back-to-back saves in the first two games of the showdown series against the upstate rivals.
The last time the Dodgers and Giants met, in San Francisco in June, Jansen was part of another back-to-back achievement he's had trouble forgetting. He was tagged for losses in consecutive games at AT&T Park.
"That series weighed on me for a whole month," said Jansen. "I was angry out there pitching. Thank God it's here now, I face them and prove it. Now I've got another tomorrow and I've got to stay focused, because my team might need me again. One thing you learn about these guys, the Giants don't quit. They're too good of hitters, even with two strikes you've got to be cautious. For me, stay focused and be at my best. "
Jansen followed up his four-out save on Tuesday by securing the team's first 1-0 win since Clayton Kershaw beat the Reds by that score on May 23. Jansen has 37 saves on the season and 179 in his career, with each one adding to the franchise mark he took from Eric Gagne. His 1.86 ERA is on pace to be the lowest of his career for a full season.
Yet, instead of appearing tired after the four-out appearance, Jansen was throwing harder on Wednesday night, fanning Brandon Belt before punching out Adrianza with a 95-mph heater.
"I always throw harder the more I'm pitching," he said. "The more I pitch, the sharper I get. I hate sitting eight days, it's difficult pitching that way. When I pitch the most, my rhythm gets better. I love the way Dave [Roberts] uses me. This is go time, the end of August. I want to help my team win."
Jansen said a more disciplined offseason routine has him feeling fresher than usual this late in the season. At 28 years old with free agency potentially months away, the timing is good for him and his team.
"Sometimes you realize too late," he said. "I wish when I was younger, but you take stuff for granted. I worked out this past offseason in L.A., worked hard and stayed consistent and it's helped me during the season and I feel the difference. I don't feel tired out there. I feel great. I missed Spring Training last year with the foot [surgery]. Sometimes stuff like that makes you realize, don't take anything for granted."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.