The Boston Red Sox struggled last year when it came to closing out games, blowing 28 saves.
Boston Red Sox closer Kenney Jansen is currently seventh all time in career saves
So far this season, Jansen has been NAILS in save opportunities, going 4-4 in opportunities. In that time, he’s only allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out even. To make it even more impressive, he’s allowed zero runs in the five innings he’s pitched in.
Last season, Jansen led the NL in saves with the Atlanta Braves, but he was one of the slowest workers in the league. With the bases empty last season, Jansen averaged 25.6 seconds with bases empty and 31.4 seconds with one or more runners on.
With the introduction of the pitch clock this season, how Jansen would play with it involved was a major story line coming into the season. As we’ve seen, however, it hasn’t been a factor at all.
In fact, Red Sox fans have actually seen an increase in velocity with all of Jansens pitches and I think that the pitch clock is the reason for that.
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It may be a little bit of a stretch, but my thought process is last season, when Jansen was taking his time to throw his pitches his arm had that much more time to “cool off”.
Now, I’m not saying this is 100 percent the reason why, but now with the pitch clock he’s having to move faster therefor, his arm has lest time to “cool off”.
Granted it’s only a couple of seconds, but in a game where one second is a lifetime (when talking about the time a batter has to react to a pitch) maybe that’s all it takes to improve a pitchers velocity.
Regardless of the fact that his velo is up, he’s still impressing when he comes in and he makes it look easy while he’s up there.
On Saturday, he retired each of the three batters he saw in under 10 pitches to secure his fourth save of the season which moved him up to third in the league in saves behind Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase (5) and Toronto’s Jordan Romano (6).
Not only is he tied for third this season, his save Saturday night was his 395th career save and it tied Craig Kimbrel for most saves among active pitchers and is seventh most in MLB history.
Last year, he became the 10th player in MLB history to record at least 40 saves in as many as four seasons and Boston is hoping that this year he can make that five seasons.