Steve Cishek’s save streak suddenly snapped

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On June 4, 2013 against the Phillies, Marlins closer Steve Cishek surrendered a game-tying solo home run to John Mayberry, Jr. in the bottom of the tenth inning. It was his second — and last — blown save of the season. Between his next appearance and the end of the regular season, Cishek converted all 29 save opportunities while posting a 1.18 ERA over 45 2/3 innings.

The streak continued into 2014. Entering Friday’s game against the Mets, Cishek had converted all four of his save chances and had a perfect 0.00 ERA over seven innings. With the Marlins leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth on Friday, Cishek entered the game looking to make it 34 straight saves. The Mets weren’t fazed.

Lucas Duda led off with a single and then moved up to second base on Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice bunt. Cishek got the second out of the inning when Bobby Abreu lined out to left, but the Mets were just getting started. Omar Quintanilla singled to left to score Duda to tie the game at 3-3, marking Cishek’s first blown save of the season and snapping the 33-save streak. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, pinch-hitting for Eric Young, Jr., doubled to left-center, moving Quintanilla to third base. Finally, Curtis Granderson singled to right field, pushing across the winning run as the Mets walked off 4-3 winners.

Perhaps because he has played for the Marlins, Cishek has gone under the radar as a quality reliever for a while. Since becoming a regular part of his team’s bullpen in 2011, Cishek has a 2.53 ERA with 206 strikeouts and 53 unintentional walks over 195 2/3 innings. He and the Marlins avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.8 million deal over the off-season, but he has three more years of arbitration eligibility left, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Marlins trade him at some point.

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.