Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen became his team’s all-time saves leader with 162 as he preserved L.A.’s 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Monday.
Fittingly, the historic save came in a game started by Clayton Kershaw, who played with Jansen in the Midwest League. In fact, they were battery mates when they played for the Great Lakes Loons.
Jansen was a catcher at the start of his playing career, but he didn’t fare well as a hitter. He batted .229 in the minor leagues; he barely stayed above the Mendoza line when he was with the Loons, batting .203 in 99 games with the 2007 and 2008 teams. (Kershaw pitched for Great Lakes in 2007.)
The Dodgers decided to convert Jansen to a pitcher in 2009, which obviously worked out well for him. Eventually it gave new meaning to “Kershaw-to-Jansen” — no longer does it refer to a pitcher throwing to a catcher; now it refers to a dominant starting pitcher passing off a game’s final inning to a dominant closer.