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 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|