Relievers of the Month: Diaz, Neris

Mariners flamethrower closing in on MLB saves record; Phils righty unscored upon in August

September 4th, 2018

Major League Baseball honored Seattle's and Philadelphia's on Tuesday as August's American League and National League Relievers of the Month presented by The Hartford.

Diaz continued his dominant season as arguably the Majors' best reliever, converting on 10 saves in 11 appearances, with one blown save, yet the Mariners won each of the 11 games he appeared in. Seattle has lost just three of the 66 games this year that the right-hander has thrown in, which has proven particularly vital given the club's second-half struggles on offense as it hopes to snap a 16-year postseason drought.

Over the course of August, Diaz also became the 16th player in MLB history to record a 50-save season, and he continues to zero in on the Major League record of 62, set by in 2008. Diaz, whose 52 saves are the most in MLB, has already eclipsed the Mariners' previous record of 48 set by in 2014, and he is 10 shy of the all-time mark with 24 games remaining.

Diaz has been named the AL's Reliever of the Month in five of the 11 months of the honor's existence, including in each month this season except May, when it was awarded to . No other reliever has won the award more than twice in that time.

Neris has been outstanding since being recalled on Aug. 14 from his second Minor League demotion. The right-hander was on the big league roster for only half of August, yet still thrived enough to earn Tuesday's honors.

"I am honored to have been named NL Reliever of the Month," Neris said in a statement. " Thank you to those in the media who voted for me and, of course, to God for allowing me the opportunity to receive this award. My focus right now is helping our team whenever I am called upon. Although the award is given to me individually, it really should be given to those who have continued to help me work at my craft, namely Triple-A pitching coach Dave Lundquist, Chiqui Mejia, my offseason pitching coach in the Dominican Republic, Phillies pitching coach Rick Kranitz and the entire Phillies pitching staff."

Neris has given up just three hits and two walks since being recalled, while striking out 20 of the 32 batters he's faced, yielding an opposing slash line of .100/.156/.133 over nine innings, all in August. That translated to a 62.5 percent strikeout rate, which is the Majors' highest among pitchers who've faced at least five batters in that stretch. Neris has yet to give up a run since being recalled.