The Cardinal Nation blog

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

TCN Blog 2012 top story #12: Motte logs every save

In 2011, nine different relievers collected saves before Jason Motte was tried in the closers’ role with a month remaining in the regular season. After a strong performance in September and during the run to the World Series title, Motte strengthened his hold on the job.

This past season, Motte accomplished a feat that had occurred only five prior times in major league history. The former catcher logged every one of the Cardinals’ saves – 42 to be exact.

Motte tied for the National League saves lead with Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel and finished 58 games, second in the NL. The elder statesman of the Cardinals bullpen at the age of 30, Motte finished in a tie for third in saves across MLB.

He became fourth Cardinals pitcher (and sixth time overall) to achieve 40 saves or more. Motte was the first Cardinals pitcher since Jason Isringhausen in 2004 (47 saves) to lead the league.

The right-hander amassed 86 strikeouts and walked just 17 batters in 67 appearances, covering 72 innings. He added four wins, along with five losses and seven blown saves and finished with a 2.75 ERA.

Motte was consistent all season long. He was a key contributor to the Cardinals’ early start, becoming just the fifth pitcher in team history to reach 20 saves before the all-star break.

He finished well, too, setting career monthly highs with nine saves and 19 strikeouts in September. Motte was recognized by being named the NL Player of the Week for the period of September 17-23. It was the first such award for any league closer in more than three years.

Motte also picked up a win and three saves in the post-season. He allowed two runs in 8 1/3 innings for a 2.16 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a less than one baserunner per inning (0.96 WHIP).

As Motte is arbitration-eligible in 2013, his salary will surely rise. However, the Cardinals control his services through 2014 before free agency could become a factor. 80-plus more saves in the interim seem quite possible.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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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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One Response to “TCN Blog 2012 top story #12: Motte logs every save”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Mentioning Motte had saved all the games was a contribution from yours truly. Wonder if this is my top story of the year or whether there is another to appear.

    Motte had a fantastic year. The Cards used him heavily, more than I would like, but the strong armed beast shouldered the load. He will deserve whatever he earns in 2013. An amazing journey to go from a little hit catcher in a college in New York State, to a pitcher, to a very successful one in the major leagues. Its a great testimonial to Motte’s firm resolve. May his example inspire Robert Stock next.

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