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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #65: Ziegler saves the day (again)

It may be an imperfect stat, but it's still impressive.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Conley
LHP, 3-3, 3.76
Robbie Ray
LHP, 2-5, 5.14
J.T. Realmuto - C Jean Segura - 2B
Martin Prado - 3B Brandon Drury - 3B
Christian Yelich - LF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Marcell Ozuna - CF Welington Castillo - C
Giancarlo Stanton - RF David Peralta - RF
Chris Johnson - 1B Peter O'Brien - LF
Derek Dietrich - 2B Nick Ahmed - SS
Miguel Rojas - SS Robbie Ray - LHP
Adam Conley - LHP Michael Bourn - CF

Brad Ziegler notched his 40th consecutive save last night. That's pretty elevated territory for any closer, and the streak is now tied for tenth-longest in baseball history - with a guy who went to the Hall of Fame, Dennis Eckersley, who got his forty saves in a row in 1991 and 1992. If Ziegler gets one today, that will leap him up several notches on the ladder, to be tied for seventh, alongside Heath Bell (2010-11), Trevor Hoffman (1997-98) and Rod Beck (1993-95). Here's the full list of the top 10: Interesting that there are four players who were, at one time or another, Diamondbacks pitchers on the list, with Valverde and Gordon present, too.

Player Saves Team(s) Years
Éric Gagné 84 Los Angeles Dodgers 2002–2004
Tom Gordon 54 Boston Red Sox 1998–1999
José Valverde 51 Detroit Tigers 2010–2011
John Axford 49 Milwaukee Brewers 2011–2012
Brad Lidge 47 Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies 2007–2009
Grant Balfour 44 Oakland Athletics 2012–2013
Rod Beck 41 San Francisco Giants 1993–1995
Trevor Hoffman 41 San Diego Padres 1997–1998
Heath Bell 41 San Diego Padres 2010–2011
Dennis Eckersley 40 Oakland Athletics 1991–1992
Brad Ziegler 40 Arizona Diamondbacks 2015--2016

This year, Ziegler has been particularly good in save situations, less so otherwise - his Save ERA is 0.75, having allowed just one run over 12 innings. Non-saves? 5.14, with eight earned runs in 14 frames of work. Is this just the random fluctuation of small sample sizes? The numbers for his career are much closer together, with a Save ERA of 2.38 and a non-Save ERA of 2.57. What's also impressive is how consistent he has been, in an area known for volatility. He's on pace for his ninth consecutive season throwing 50 innings and with an ERA+ better than 105. The only reliever who can match that is Jonathan Papelbon, and with a 2016 ERA+ of 98, he needs to step up his game.