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Edwin Diaz is on pace for a 60-save season

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The Mariners defeated the Angels 8-5 on Sunday, bumping their record to 62-43. Closer Edwin Diaz got the final three outs, working around a leadoff walk with two strikeouts for his 39th save of the season, the best mark in baseball.

Diaz’s 39 saves through 105 team games puts him on pace for 60 over the 162-game season. There has been only one 60-save season in baseball, accomplished by Francisco Rodriguez for the Angels back in 2008. There have been just 16 50-plus save seasons since the statistic was created in 1969. Since 2012, only five closers have racked up 50-plus saves: Jeurys Familia (51, 2016), Mark Melancon (51, 2015), Craig Kimbrel (50, 2013), and Jim Johnson twice (50, 2013; 51, 2012).

All this is being said knowing full well the save statistic is garbage. If Diaz were to get to 60 saves, it would still be a fun achievement.

Diaz’s other stats are plenty impressive, too. He owns a 2.08 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 15 walks in 52 innings of work. His ratio of 5.8 strikeouts for every one walk is the 10th-best mark among qualified relievers. Only the Brewers Josh Hader (50.3%) has a higher strikeout rate than Diaz’s 44.2%.

Diaz is only 24 years old and will be under the Mariners’ control through 2022. It’s scary to think how much better he can potentially get.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.