Kenley Jansen broke the all-time strikeout rate record

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I wrote last week about how Kenley Jansen had the second-highest strikeout rate in baseball history, but the Dodgers rookie was so dominant down the stretch that he vaulted into the top spot.

Jansen ended up striking out 34 of the final 56 batters he faced this season–which is absolutely ridiculous–and finished the year as the first pitcher in baseball history with more than 16.0 strikeouts per nine innings.

Here’s the new all-time leaderboard (among pitchers with at least 40 innings):

                  YEAR     SO/9
KENLEY JANSEN     2011     16.1
Carlos Marmol     2010     16.0
Eric Gagne        2003     15.0
Billy Wagner      1999     15.0
Brad Lidge        2004     14.9

Jensen racked up 96 strikeouts in 53.2 innings while posting a 2.85 ERA and .159 opponents’ batting average. Not bad for a 23-year-old rookie who was a light-hitting catcher in the minors as recently as two seasons ago.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.