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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Jason Motte nearing a very unusual record

On Sunday in Chicago, St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte recorded his sixth save in his club’s last six wins. His heavy usage is due to the reality that each victory is very important as the Cardinals cling to a two-and-a-half game lead in the second National League wild card race.

It isn’t just a recent phenomenon, however. With his 40th save of the season on Sunday, Motte became only the fourth pitcher in Cardinals history to achieve that many.

It is the sixth occurrence overall and first since Jason Isringhausen tied Lee Smith in 2004 for the team record of 47.  Smith had three consecutive 40-save seasons (1991-93) and Bruce Sutter had one (1984).

Even more unusual is that as a team, the 2012 Cardinals have exactly 40 saves. In other words, no one other than Motte has recorded even one save for St. Louis this season.

I enlisted the help of researcher Tom Orf to determine just how unique this is. Since the save became an official MLB statistic in 1969, only five closers went an entire season collecting 100 percent of their team’s saves.

Interestingly, all are National Leaguers, including three San Francisco Giants. Three of the five accomplished it in the same year, 2008, also the last time it occurred.

Motte needs just three more saves (and no Cardinals teammate to get his first) to move into a share of the all-time lead with Robb Nen, who collected all 43 of the 2002 Giants’ saves. That San Francisco club was the only one of the prior five to reach the post-season.

Motte’s current conversion rate of 85.1 percent is right in the middle of this elite and unique pack.

Closers with all of their team’s saves, season, MLB, since 1969

Year Team Closer Sv BS Save percent Saves rest of team Playoffs
2002 San Francisco Giants Robb Nen 43 8 84.3% 0 yes
2008 San Francisco Giants Brian Wilson 41 6 87.2% 0 no
2012 St. Louis Cardinals Jason Motte 40 7 85.1% 0 TBD
1996 San Francisco Giants Rod Beck 35 7 83.3% 0 no
2008 Cincinnati Reds Francisco Cordero 34 6 85.0% 0 no
2008 San Diego Padres Trevor Hoffman 30 4 88.2% 0 no

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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11 Responses to “Jason Motte nearing a very unusual record”

  1. Nutlaw says:

    That’s pretty wild! Motte certainly is pitching great.

  2. blingboy says:

    Does anyone know if any Card besides Motte has a blown save this year?

  3. LarryBird says:

    It just happened on Friday. With Salas trying to get the save with a 4-3 lead against the cubs in the 9th.;_ylt=AkH_7VYOsEp1AAbu4sNZpd.FCLcF?gid=320921116

    • blingboy says:

      Thanks for pointing it out LB.

      I’ve been working almost nonstop since Friday morning and had completely forgotten to look into the circumstances surrounding Kozma’s steal of home, which was also Friday.

      Anybody care to comment on that?

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