Bulldog closer Jonathan Papelbon converted his 27th save in 30 chances last night against the Royals. In the process, he continued to rewrite the Red Sox record book, and extended the team rookie record he already holds.
Pitching the final frame, Papelbon retired all three batters he faced to secure yet another victory for the Sox. Papelbon's 27th save tied him with Jeff Reardon (1992) and Ellis Kinder (1953) for 8th place on the Sox' single-season saves list.
The rookie phenom became the first Sox rookie pitcher to be named to the All Star team since Don Schwall in 1961. Schwall also went on to win the Rookie of the Year award that season. Could Papelbon follow suit? It's a good bet.
As promised, I will continue to update Papelbon's performances and chart his progress as he moves up the list. He has a genuine shot at 50 saves this year, which would be the top performance by any Sox closer in team history. With each successive outing, Papelbon continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year. As it stands, the Louisiana native's 20 successful save opportunities to start this season are an MLB rookie record.
Here's a look at the Red Sox all-time single-season saves leaders:
1. Tom Gordon - 46 saves in 1998
2. Derek Lowe - 42 saves in 2000
T- 3.Ugueth Urbina - 40 saves in 2002
Jeff Reardon - 40 saves 1991
T- 4. Jeff Russell - 33 saves in 1993
Bob Stanley - 33 saves 1n 1983
5. Keith Foulke - 32 saves in 2004
T- 6. Heathcliff Slocumb - 31 saves in 1996
Bill Campbell - 31 saves in 1977
T- 7. Lee Smith - 29 saves in 1988
Dick Radatz - 29 saves in 1964
T- 8. Jonathan Papelbon - 27 saves in 2006
Jeff Reardon - 27 saves in 1992
Ellis Kinder - 27 saves in 1953
T- 9. Lee Smith - 25 saves in 1989
Dick Radatz - 25 saves in 1963