AP Photo/Ric Francis
Francisco Rodriguez's record-setting season reached another significant plateau Sunday: He recorded 50 saves faster than any pitcher in baseball history.
K-Rod notched save No. 50 in his team's 129th game; that's 14 fewer than Eric Gagne needed in 2003, and 16 fewer than Bobby Thigpen needed in 1990, the year Thigpen set the single-season record in the category with 57. Rodriguez is on pace for 63 saves, more than enough to pass Thigpen.
It wasn't too long ago that we took a look at K-Rod's remarkable saves pace, noting how unlikely it was he'd be able to continue saving such a high percentage of his team's wins. To think, entering July, that number was 66.0 percent. That percentage has declined somewhat, but it's still a top-five all-time number: 63.3 percent, which would rank fourth-highest in baseball history if the season ended today. His breakdown by month:April: 11 saves in 18 wins (61.1 percent)
May: 10 saves in 15 wins (66.7)
June: 11 saves in 16 wins (68.8)
July: 12 saves in 19 wins (63.2)
August: 6 saves in 11 wins (54.5)
By the way, in case you're wondering about K-Rod's chances at getting those eight additional saves to break Thigpen's record, consider his saves total from Aug. 25 forward each of the past three seasons: 15 in 2005, 12 in 2006, 8 in 2007. His chances sure look good.
It's next season, though, that could get a little interesting, and coincidentally, it's the man who earned the win pitching ahead of K-Rod Sunday who should be drawing some keeper-league attention: Jose Arredondo.
In his past 25 appearances, Arredondo has four wins, a 0.92 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and .170 batting average allowed. Those are K-Rod-like numbers, if not better, and with K-Rod a free agent this fall, it's not unthinkable the rookie could be seeing saves chances sooner than you think (like next Opening Day).
That's something you keeper-league owners should keep in mind. Rodriguez will be seeking a huge, multi-year contract in the offseason, and he'll surely test the market, having previously expressed disappointment that the Angels didn't seriously discuss an extension with him before the season. With Arredondo on hand, the Angels might not be so apt to bring K-Rod back, knowing they have a more than adequate replacement.
Mike Cameron, Brewers
Cameron contributed in all five categories with a 5-for-5 day which included a home run, a stolen base, a run and two RBIs. Cameron is batting .360 in 75 August at-bats.
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
Broxton moved into a tie for the major league lead in blown saves with seven, and in his past eight appearances he has a 7.88 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. He's nowhere near the lock as closer that fantasy owners seem to believe he is.
"The message contained within Henderson's words was clear to Pena. Don't try to do too much; don't put pressure on yourself to make up for what is lost with the absence of Crawford and Longoria. Rather than letting your mind get cluttered by internal pressure, just focus on the most basic element of hitting, which is to see the ball, and this is what Pena has been doing -- what all the Rays have been doing. "
-- Buster Olney Blog
• The Royals optioned Josh Newman to Triple-A Omaha, transferred Luke Hochevar from the 15- to 60-day disabled list and purchased Brandon Duckworth's contract from Omaha. Hochevar is out for the season with a bruised rib cage, and Duckworth could get a few more starts after winning Sunday by limiting the Tigers to three runs on seven hits in five innings. He's not much of a fantasy option, though.
• After optioning Kendry Morales to Triple-A Salt Lake, the Angels recalled Jason Bulger. Bulger had four wins, 15 saves and a 0.66 ERA in 35 appearances for Salt Lake, and will provide bullpen depth for the Angels.
• The Diamondbacks recalled Billy Buckner from Triple-A Tucson and optioned Doug Slaten there. They didn't give Slaten much of a chance to prove himself since his activation from the DL, but apparently felt Buckner would be a more valuable bullpen piece for now. Buckner had a 5-10 record and 4.95 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) for Tucson.
• In his first game for Triple-A Nashville after being promoted from Double-A Huntsville over the weekend, Mat Gamel went 0-for-4 with the "golden sombrero" -- four strikeouts -- Sunday. Needless to say, it can only get better from here for him, and he'll need to show more than that if he's to get some at-bats for the big club in September. Gamel, a future star who, once he reaches his prime, might not be much less a hitter than Ryan Braun, finished with a .329 batting average, 19 home runs, 96 RBIs, 96 runs scored and a .933 OPS in 127 games for Huntsville.
• Ross Ohlendorf allowed one run on five hits in eight innings for Triple-A Indianapolis, his fourth quality start in six tries since coming over to Pittsburgh from the Yankees. He's 3-3 in those six starts, but has a 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .252 BAA, perhaps putting him in consideration for a rotation spot with the Pirates in September.