The Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez is lucky enough to play on a team that on 63 occasions this year has managed to take a lead, but not too big of a lead, into the ninth inning. And since he’s been successful in that role 57 times he now shares the single-season record in a weird, arbitrary statistic. Seriously, all you need to know about saves is that a guy once got one in a game his team won by 27 runs.
In last night’s win over Seattle, the Angels took a 7-3 lead into the ninth inning, when Scot Shields allowed the first two runners to reach safely. Mike Scioscia immediately popped out of the dugout to remove Shields and bring in Rodriguez, who shockingly managed to not pitch like an absolute moron and held on to that precarious four-run advantage against a crappy Mariner offense. And oh yeah, he got the save.
Thanks to a technicality in the rule that allows saves to be given as long as a pitcher enters the game with the tying run on deck regardless of the score (wha?), K-Rod has now reached the plateau of silliness previously occupied by Bobby Thigpen, a decent but unspectacular reliever who had one really good year in 1990.
K-Rod — baseball historian that he is — didn’t even know whose record he was chasing until just before the All-Star break this year, so says the ASSOCIATED PRESS:
“I didn’t even know that he’s the one that had the record. I didn’t know about him until you guys (reporters) told me about him before the All-Star break,” he said. “I started thinking I could get to the record a couple of weeks ago, and I started thinking about it more and more the closer I got.”
Angel fans, of course, want K-Rod to really earn the record. From the forums at ANGELSWIN.COM:
Hey Scot [Shields], just throw fastballs and nothing else so they can get a couple of singles and then we can get Frankie the record quickly and rest him.
Thanks for taking one for the team Scot.
Yeah, this is all very legitimate. Enjoy this while you can, Angel fans, since Frankie’s probably going to attempt to sign with the Mets the day after he sets the record.