On Sunday in Chicago, St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte recorded his sixth save in his club’s last six wins. His heavy usage is due to the reality that each win is very important as the Cardinals cling to a two-game lead in the second National League wild card race.
It isn’t just a recent phenomenon, however. With his 40th save of the season on Sunday, Motte became only the fourth pitcher in Cardinals history to achieve that many.
It is the sixth occurrence overall and first since Jason Isringhausen tied Lee Smith in 2004 for the team record of 47. Smith had three consecutive 40-save seasons (1991-93) and Bruce Sutter had one (1984).
Even more unusual is that as a team, the 2012 Cardinals have exactly 40 saves. In other words, no one other than Motte has recorded even one save this season.
I enlisted the help of researcher Tom Orf to determine just how unique this is. Since the save became an official MLB statistic in 1969, only five closers went an entire season collecting ...