Raul Valdes' performance on Tuesday was a rarity, a save (albeit a "cheap" one in an 8-0 win), requiring a whopping 57 pitches.
Pitch data hasn't been tracked full-time throughout baseball history, but Baseball-Reference.com has enough information on its site that we can string together some interesting nuggets.
It was the first save of that length in nearly three years, the last coming from Angels reliever Marcus Gwyn (his only career save in three appearances) in an 18-9 win over the Yankees on August 21, 2007.
That game illustrates common thread involving most 57-pitch saves. The score of the game, for the most part, wasn't close, and the reliever who got it was either not used often, or had the durability of a starter.
Or in the case of the Mets, he was a pitching freak, like recent Citi Field visitor Turk Wendell, in town for the 2000 team reunion last weekend. Wendell got a 57-pitch effort against the Blue Jays on September 2, 1997. That save was lengthened by his pitching four innings, while allowing three runs in an 8-5 win, in which Juan Acevedo beat Roger Clemens.
Two other Mets are documented as having saves of 57+ pitches -- Toby Borland had a 64-pitch save against the Dodgers on April 15, 1997 (Jackie Robinson night), and Doug Henry had a 57-pitch one on August 30, 1995.
Inspired by a colleague who wants to coin the term "Ryan Start" for starts of 7+ innings, allowing three earned runs or fewer, we wanted to come up with a catchy name to define a save necessitating 57+ pitches.
In Mets annals, there would seem to fit two pitchers for whom the 57-pitch save would be a badge of honor, Roger McDowell, the Mets all-time leader with 24 saves of 3+ innings, and Tug McGraw, who ranks second with 13 such saves. Surely, knowing how both worked, they must have had a couple of lengthy pitch-count saves.
Since the term "McDowell-McGraw save" doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, we came up with a better option that would seem to fit the personality of these two pitchers (as well as Wendell) a little better. Hence, the next time we see a Mets pitcher record a save of 57+ pitches, we're gonna call it a "Goofball Save."
Mark Simon is a researcher for Baseball Tonight. Follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn or e-mail him at WebGemScoreboard@gmail.com