Could Kenley Jansen really pitch an entire season without walking a batter?
It’s a crazy thought except, well, the season is just about halfway done and Jansen hasn’t walked anyone. The Dodgers’ closer has faced 107 batters, struck out 50 and walked none.
“It’s awesome, man,” Jansen said. “I’m not taking it for granted. I’m doing something that has never been done before.
“It’s awesome to be living in this moment.”
No pitcher has faced as many batters in a season without walking any. He has pitched 29 2/3 innings. The major league record for most innings pitched without a walk: 21, by Len Swormstedt of the 1906 Boston Americans.
“If I walk someone, I walk someone,” Jansen said. “Hey, I made a great run at it. … If, at the end of the year, it’s zero, or one or two or three or four, we’ll see.”
Jansen’s ERA is 0.91. In perhaps the most dominant relief season in modern history, Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics posted a 0.61 earned-run average in 1990, striking out 73 and walking four.
In 1992, Eckersley was the American League’s most valuable player, with a 1.91 ERA, 87 strikeouts and nine walks.
Beware the Rockies
Is it too soon to juggle a starting rotation with an eye toward the opponent? Not for the Dodgers, who decided to push back Alex Wood’s next start by one day so their top three starters — Wood, Clayton Kershaw and Brandon McCarthy — could start this weekend against the first-place Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers, Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks started play Monday with the three best records in the National League West, with each team within one game of the others. The division champion advances to a best-of-five playoff series; the two wild cards must play a sudden-death playoff game.
Monday marked the first anniversary of what so far has been one of the most lopsided trades in recent baseball history. In what appeared to be a marginal swap of triple-A players, the Dodgers sent pitcher Zach Lee to the Seattle Mariners for infielder Chris Taylor.
Lee had received a $5.25-million bonus — a team record for a drafted player — but his Dodgers career consisted of one major league game in six pro seasons.
Taylor has emerged as an invaluable player for the Dodgers, and now he’s an outfielder, a position he never played in the majors before this year. He entered play Monday with an .895 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage), third on the team behind Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger.
“You almost want to take that utility tag off him,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s essentially been an everyday player for us.”
The Mariners never did call up Lee, who went 0-9 with a 7.39 earned-run average for their triple-A Tacoma affiliate. The San Diego Padres, desperate for candidates to fill their starting rotation, claimed him on waivers last December and afforded him eight innings this season, in which he walked eight. They sent him back to triple A and, on Monday, the Padres designated him for assignment.
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