After a lengthy stretch -- dating back to July 19th -- in which he hadn't recorded a save, Jonathan Papelbon notched his 30th save in 33 opportunities on Friday night against the Devil Rays.
With the save, Papelbon encroached upon the rookie saves record held by Kaz Sasaki.
Here's a look at the all time single-season rookie saves leaders:
Kaz Sasaki (Seattle) - 37 in 2000
Todd Worrell (St. Louis) - 36 in 1986
Billy Koch (Toronto) - 31 in 1999
Jonathan Papelbon (Boston) 30 in 2006
Kerry Ligtenberg (Atlanta) 30 in 1998
And the outstanding rookie closer also continued to rewrite the Red Sox record book. Papelbon is now in sole possession of seventh place on the Red Sox single-season saves list.
Next up, with 31 saves each, are Heathcliff Slocumb (1996) and Bill Campbell (1977), in 6th place on the 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? I'd bet on it.
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
7. Jonathan Papelbon - 30 saves in 2006
T- 8. Lee Smith - 29 saves in 1988
Dick Radatz - 29 saves in 1964
T- 9. Jeff Reardon - 27 saves in 1992
Ellis Kinder - 27 saves in 1953
T- 10. Lee Smith - 25 saves in 1989
Dick Radatz - 25 saves in 1963