Updated: August 25, 2008, 11:56 AM ET

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AP Photo/Ric Francis

Francisco Rodriguez has saved 50 of the Angel's 79 wins.

K-Rod fastest to 50

Francisco Rodriguez's record-setting season reached another significant plateau Sunday: He recorded 50 saves faster than any pitcher in baseball history.

K-Rod notched save No. 50 in his team's 129th game; that's 14 fewer than Eric Gagne needed in 2003, and 16 fewer than Bobby Thigpen needed in 1990, the year Thigpen set the single-season record in the category with 57. Rodriguez is on pace for 63 saves, more than enough to pass Thigpen.

It wasn't too long ago that we took a look at K-Rod's remarkable saves pace, noting how unlikely it was he'd be able to continue saving such a high percentage of his team's wins. To think, entering July, that number was 66.0 percent. That percentage has declined somewhat, but it's still a top-five all-time number: 63.3 percent, which would rank fourth-highest in baseball history if the season ended today. His breakdown by month:

April: 11 saves in 18 wins (61.1 percent)
May: 10 saves in 15 wins (66.7)
June: 11 saves in 16 wins (68.8)
July: 12 saves in 19 wins (63.2)
August: 6 saves in 11 wins (54.5)

By the way, in case you're wondering about K-Rod's chances at getting those eight additional saves to break Thigpen's record, consider his saves total from Aug. 25 forward each of the past three seasons: 15 in 2005, 12 in 2006, 8 in 2007. His chances sure look good.

It's next season, though, that could get a little interesting, and coincidentally, it's the man who earned the win pitching ahead of K-Rod Sunday who should be drawing some keeper-league attention: Jose Arredondo.

In his past 25 appearances, Arredondo has four wins, a 0.92 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and .170 batting average allowed. Those are K-Rod-like numbers, if not better, and with K-Rod a free agent this fall, it's not unthinkable the rookie could be seeing saves chances sooner than you think (like next Opening Day).

That's something you keeper-league owners should keep in mind. Rodriguez will be seeking a huge, multi-year contract in the offseason, and he'll surely test the market, having previously expressed disappointment that the Angels didn't seriously discuss an extension with him before the season. With Arredondo on hand, the Angels might not be so apt to bring K-Rod back, knowing they have a more than adequate replacement.

Past editions: 8/23: Pavano victorious | 8/20: Gordon a Royal pain | 8/22: Aces on display

Box Score Bits
Sunday was a big night for 2008 league-changers: CC Sabathia managed his 10th consecutive quality start since his trade to the Brewers, but failed to improve his Brewer win total from eight after closer Salomon Torres blew a ninth-inning lead. Nevertheless, Sabathia has a 1.59 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .233 batting average allowed and 74 strikeouts in 79 innings since being dealt, a midseason impact not unlike Randy Johnson's in 1998, when he went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA in 11 late-season starts for the Astros. … Rich Harden is pretty close to Sabathia in value, though, logging his eighth game allowing one run or fewer in nine starts since joining the Cubs. Only four of those were quality starts, but what has set him apart from Sabathia is the strikeouts; Harden has 70 in 49 innings. … Mark Teixeira went 3-for-4 with his seventh homer as an Angel; he's batting .386 (32-for-83) with 20 RBIs in 23 games since coming over from the Braves. He's historically a late-season standout, so expect him to stick pretty close to this pace for the next month. … The Mets' bullpen problems continued Sunday, as Aaron Heilman helped blow a one-run lead in the seventh inning and Pedro Feliciano suffered the loss by allowing a pair of solo home runs in the 10th. Things don't look any closer to getting settled in the late innings for New York, and that's sure to hurt the starters' win potential in the final weeks of the season. … Robinson Cano went 4-for-5 with the game-winning homer at Baltimore, and while he hasn't had quite the torrid second half he did in either 2006 or 2007, it's still worth pointing out that he's a .315 hitter with six home runs and 25 RBIs in 46 games since July 1. … Rocco Baldelli homered for the second time in three days and is batting .308 (8-for-26) since returning from the DL, but be aware that he has started only five of 13 games, with four of those coming against left-handers. He remains a matchups-type exclusively, though not a bad one at that. … Interesting (and useful) fact for spot-start seekers: Paul Maholm notched his 11th quality start in his past 13 tries Sunday. He has a 2.77 ERA during that span. … Chris Perez converted his fifth consecutive save opportunity, and he has totaled 8 1/3 scoreless innings with two hits allowed in the month of August. There's no doubt he's the full-time closer in St. Louis at this point. … Chris Dickerson homered for the second consecutive game, but don't let that inflate your opinion of him too much; his Reds were playing at Coors Field this past weekend. Still, he's a decent power/speed sleeper for NL-only owners. … Ervin Santana matched his season high with 10 strikeouts in seven innings of work, and for the season he now has 176 K's in 176 2/3 frames. The significant advances he has made in the command department have fueled his breakout campaign; he has averaged 8.97 K's and 2.14 walks per nine innings, which easily bests his 7.34/2.94 career rates. … By the way, returning to the topic of save percentage compared to team wins, the Giants' Brian Wilson Sunday recorded his 35th save in the Giants' 58th win, a 60.3 percentage, which would rank him ninth in baseball history. It's not much of a drop-off from the 62.2-percent rate he was at to begin July, either. … Ricky Nolasco managed his second consecutive double-digit strikeout performance, and third in five starts, whiffing 10 Diamondbacks while allowing two runs on three hits in 7 1/3 innings. He has a 2.51 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 51 K's in 43 innings in his past six starts, ranking him as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball during that span. Keep riding that streak. … What wonders a change of scenery seems to be doing for Anthony Reyes. He turned in his fourth consecutive solid start for the Indians; he's 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.36 WHIP during that span. His win potential won't be great and that's not much of a sample size to work with, but there's AL-only potential in Reyes looking forward.



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Standing Out

Mike Cameron, Brewers
Cameron contributed in all five categories with a 5-for-5 day which included a home run, a stolen base, a run and two RBIs. Cameron is batting .360 in 75 August at-bats.

Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
Broxton moved into a tie for the major league lead in blown saves with seven, and in his past eight appearances he has a 7.88 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. He's nowhere near the lock as closer that fantasy owners seem to believe he is.
News and Notes
Mets manager Jerry Manuel told the New York Post that John Maine will test his ailing shoulder in a throwing session this week, and if Manuel and team management don't like what they see, they might shut the right-hander down for the season. Maine had already said following his Saturday start that he will have a bone spur removed from his shoulder via arthroscopic surgery after the season, but that timetable could be moved up. Expect to hear a more definitive take on his status in the next few days. … Freddy Garcia, in the Tigers' minor league system working his way back from shoulder surgery, tossed two scoreless innings in his 2008 debut for Class A Lakeland Saturday, according to the team's official Web site. He'll make his next appearance for Triple-A Toledo Wednesday, and has an outside chance of contributing to the big club in September. Garcia could be a candidate for a couple of starts in the No. 5 rotation spot currently occupied by Chris Lambert, but is a long shot to make a significant fantasy impact. … Johnny Cueto left his Sunday start after three innings with a sore right triceps tendon, according to the Reds' official Web site. "We just took him out for precautionary reasons," said manager Dusty Baker. "He'll go back to [Cincinnati to] see Dr. [Tim] Kremchek. Hopefully, it's nothing." Expect the Reds to take every precaution with Cueto, who was already within 6 1/3 innings of his career high as a professional (161 1/3, set last season). … J.D. Drew missed his sixth consecutive game with a sore back, and the Red Sox's official Web site reports that he might be headed to the disabled list. "I guess that's possible," said manager Terry Francona. "He's been not available for a week now. We have a day off on Monday. We'd like to give him a chance to not [go on the DL], but I guess that's always a possibility." The Red Sox have been using Jacoby Ellsbury in right field and Coco Crisp in center field regularly with Drew sidelined. … Lance Berkman sat out Sunday's game because he was "a little banged up," according to Astros manager Cecil Cooper, and the team's official Web site reports that the slugger's left hamstring and wrist are sore. Cooper said Berkman should return to the lineup Monday. … Derrek Lee was also sidelined Sunday due to back spasms, according to the Cubs' official Web site. "There's really no news, I'm fine," he said. "Today's just a precautionary day. I just had some spasms [Saturday]. That's all it is. I feel fine, it's no big deal."
They Wrote It

"The message contained within Henderson's words was clear to Pena. Don't try to do too much; don't put pressure on yourself to make up for what is lost with the absence of Crawford and Longoria. Rather than letting your mind get cluttered by internal pressure, just focus on the most basic element of hitting, which is to see the ball, and this is what Pena has been doing -- what all the Rays have been doing. "

-- Buster Olney Blog


• The Royals optioned Josh Newman to Triple-A Omaha, transferred Luke Hochevar from the 15- to 60-day disabled list and purchased Brandon Duckworth's contract from Omaha. Hochevar is out for the season with a bruised rib cage, and Duckworth could get a few more starts after winning Sunday by limiting the Tigers to three runs on seven hits in five innings. He's not much of a fantasy option, though.

• After optioning Kendry Morales to Triple-A Salt Lake, the Angels recalled Jason Bulger. Bulger had four wins, 15 saves and a 0.66 ERA in 35 appearances for Salt Lake, and will provide bullpen depth for the Angels.

• The Diamondbacks recalled Billy Buckner from Triple-A Tucson and optioned Doug Slaten there. They didn't give Slaten much of a chance to prove himself since his activation from the DL, but apparently felt Buckner would be a more valuable bullpen piece for now. Buckner had a 5-10 record and 4.95 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) for Tucson.

On The Farm

• In his first game for Triple-A Nashville after being promoted from Double-A Huntsville over the weekend, Mat Gamel went 0-for-4 with the "golden sombrero" -- four strikeouts -- Sunday. Needless to say, it can only get better from here for him, and he'll need to show more than that if he's to get some at-bats for the big club in September. Gamel, a future star who, once he reaches his prime, might not be much less a hitter than Ryan Braun, finished with a .329 batting average, 19 home runs, 96 RBIs, 96 runs scored and a .933 OPS in 127 games for Huntsville.

Ross Ohlendorf allowed one run on five hits in eight innings for Triple-A Indianapolis, his fourth quality start in six tries since coming over to Pittsburgh from the Yankees. He's 3-3 in those six starts, but has a 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .252 BAA, perhaps putting him in consideration for a rotation spot with the Pirates in September.