8:00 PM ET – Boston (2) vs. Detroit (2) – Jon Lester (3.0 rWAR) vs. Anibal Sanchez (6.3 rWAR)
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Casey Janssen, if you look at the overall numbers, had his third straight tremendous year in 2013. An ERA of 2.56, a WHIP below 1.00, 34 saves compared to just two blown (if you’re into that sort of thing), and using FanGraphs’ WPA-based metric, 36 shut downs compared to just six meltdowns.
By every standard, he’s been terrific. Over the last three years, by FanGraphs’ ERA- stat, his mark of 59 in the top ten in all of baseball among pitchers with more than 150 innings. That’s just a shade ahead of Clayton Kershaw– which isn’t a great comparison, granted, given that Kershaw provides boatloads more value by pitching so many more innings, and has a much tougher task by having to turn lineups over multiple times… but still!
Among relievers, he’s comfortably among the elite ones by that metric, behind Kimbrel, Koji, David Robertson, Greg Holland, Sergio Romo and Brad Ziegler, and ahead of Aroldis Chapman, Mike Adams, Joe Smith, Kenley Jansen, and many, many others.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Janssen cementing himself as one of the top relievers in the game: many Jays fans, myself included, started having trouble believing what they were seeing.