Closer Edwin Díaz closed out the ninth inning of Sunday against the Yankees, putting a 3-2 victory in the books for the Mariners. It’s the 54th save of the season for Díaz, the fifth-most all-time in a single season. Díaz had a little help, as Mitch Haniger made a terrific diving catch on a shallow Giancarlo Stanton fly ball to end the game.
The record for saves in a season is 62 held by Francisco Rodríguez, who accomplished the feat in 2008 with the Angels. Behind him are Bobby Thigpen (57, 1990 White Sox), Éric Gagné (55, 2003 Dodgers), John Smoltz (55, 2002 Braves), and now Díaz.
Along with the 54 saves, Díaz owns a 1.84 ERA with a 118/16 K/BB ratio in 68 1/3 innings. His rate of 15.54 strikeouts per nine innings is ninth-highest in baseball history among pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings in a season. Unsurprisingly, all 14 player-seasons with a 15 or better K/9 have occurred since 2010. Aroldis Chapman has the highest rate, averaging 17.67 strikeouts per nine over 54 innings with the Reds in 2014.
Building on a report from early September, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is slated to undergo a heart procedure on November 26. The estimated recovery time ranges from two to eight weeks, according to comments Jansen made Friday, and he expects to be able to rejoin the team once spring training rolls around next year.
Jansen, 31, was first diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in 2011 and missed significant time during the 2011, 2012, and 2018 seasons due to the condition. He underwent his first surgery to correct the irregularity in 2012, but suffered recurring symptoms that could not be treated long-term with the heart medication and blood thinners that had been prescribed to him. Scarier still was the “atrial fibrillation episode” that the reliever experienced during a road trip to Colorado in August; per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the high altitude exacerbated his heart condition and left him susceptible to future episodes in the event that he chose to return to the Rockies’ Coors Field.
Heart issues notwithstanding, the veteran right-hander pitched through his third straight All-Star season in 2018. Overall, he saw a downward trend in most of his stats, but still collected 38 saves in 59 opportunities and finished the season with a respectable 3.01 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 71 2/3 innings. In October, he helped carry the Dodgers to their second consecutive pennant and wrapped up his sixth postseason run with three saves, two blown saves, and a 1.69 ERA across 10 2/3 innings.