Thursday, July 24, 2008

Will Thigpen's Save Record Stand?

Will this man break one of the White Sox organizations most sacred records? Many experts are saying yes. I'm not so sure.

Francisco Rodriguez is on a pace to save 65 games in 2008. This would shatter the existing record of 57, set by Bobby Thigpen in 1990. The question is, can Francisco keep it up?

My instincts tell me no. There are too many factors that prohibit this record from being broken. First of all, the situation that makes a save possible is out of K-Rod's control. If the opportunities aren't there in the second half, then there won't be many saves.

Secondly, many other pitchers have tried and failed to even tie the mark. Trevor Hoffman, Eric Gagne, John Smoltz and Mariano Rivera have all come close. They all fell short. John Smoltz even set a record for most saves before the All-Star break, which K-Rod has broken this year.

The closest any other pitcher has come to Thigpen's record is 55 saves. That's two away from tying. In the land of saves, that is a lot of games to make up. Save opportunities, like home runs, usually come in bunches. After that, they tend to dry up.

I think that this season Francisco will save 56 games. I'm not saying this because I don't want him to break the record. I'm saying 56 games because of the law of averages. They tend to even out throughout the season. Hitters start to get really hot after the All-Star break. Pitchers usually start to wear down. There tend to be more blowout games in the second half than close nail biters.

If Francisco does happen to break Thigpen's record, I'll be very happy for him. It takes the right amount of skill, luck and opportunity to accomplish this feat. If K-Rod does make it to 58 or beyond, I will witness a record that I thought would never be broken.

Update: 7-25-08:

While going through an old scrapbook today, I found clippings from early 1991. Bobby Thigpen was on pace to save 61 games, based on his April performance. Bobby only saved 30 games, making appearances in 67 games in 1991. Something to certainly think about, isn't it?


Spiff said...

I for one am hoping that he doesn't break it. The Angels have been just phenomenal this year though so perhaps there is a chance.

tastelikedirt said...

I hope he does not break it either, being an A's fan there's just so much I can take of his fist pumping pointing to the sky overdone celebrations.

I would be a bigger fan if he was on the A's I'm sure....maybe not.

Scott said...

Gah....An A's fan rooting for Bobby? That just doesn't sound right :)

One of my favorite memories is when Bobby was with the Philles and Henderson was with the Blue Jays and Bobby hit him, putting him on first, then to add insult to the injury, picked him off first.

Steve Gierman said...

I won't even comment about Bobby and the A's.

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