Joe Nathan picks up 300th career save

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Lost in the terrible strike call that ended yesterday’s Rangers-Rays game is that the pitch closed out the 300th save of Joe Nathan’s career, moving him into a tie for 22nd place on the all-time list with Bruce Sutter and Jason Isringhausen.

What makes Nathan’s save total especially impressive is that he didn’t become a closer until age 29 and then missed his entire age-35 season following Tommy John elbow surgery. And yet if he duplicates last season’s 37 saves he’ll finish this year ranked 11th all time between Rollie Fingers and John Wetteland.

And if you look only at career saves from age 29 on, Nathan could finish this season fourth all time behind only Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Dennis Eckersley.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.