PHOENIX -- Edwin Diaz -- wearing his nickname, "Sugar," on the back of his jersey for Players' Weekend -- set a Mariners single-season record on Friday night when he notched his 49th save of the year by closing out a 6-3 win over the D-backs at Chase Field.But there was
PHOENIX -- Edwin Diaz -- wearing his nickname, "Sugar," on the back of his jersey for Players' Weekend -- set a Mariners single-season record on Friday night when he notched his 49th save of the year by closing out a 6-3 win over the D-backs at Chase Field.
But there was no fist pump, no excitement and no celebration. Diaz is saving that for his next save -- No. 50. Earlier this season, Seattle manager Scott Servais told Diaz that if the closer reached 50, he would get a haircut to match Diaz -- lines and zig-zags shaved into the sides of the head.
"I want to get my 50 to see the haircut," Diaz said.
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Diaz said that if he records his 50th save during the series in Arizona, which concludes Sunday, he'll have his barber come to San Diego to give Servais the matching cut. The Mariners play the Padres in a two-game series beginning Tuesday.
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If Servais had to imitate one of his players, Diaz isn't a bad choice. The 24-year-old All-Star has been dominant this season and carried a heavy workload, posting a 2.00 ERA over 63 innings in 63 games. No other closer in the Majors has more than 37 saves.
"It's a phenomenal season he's had," Servais said. "He's done it a number of different ways. Some nights it's the slider that's dominant, some nights the fastball. Recently the fastball's been outstanding. He's getting ahead in the count, and then he's got both weapons to go to later in the count. Really, really nice to hand the ball to him. He's been very, very consistent."
The Mariners' single-season saves record previously belonged to Fernando Rodney, who notched 48 during the first of his two years in Seattle in 2014. Although history was on the line, Diaz stayed focused on protecting a three-run lead during a time of the season when every game is crucial toward a pennant race.
"We have to pitch a game, so I was thinking about the game, I didn't want to be thinking about the record," Diaz said. "I came to the mound and tried to do my job."
Like he has done most of the season, that's what Diaz did. He pitched a perfect ninth, striking out Daniel Descalso (Scals) to end the game.
"Unbelievable, his stuff is electric," Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger (Meetch) said. "It's fun to play behind, although you may not get too much action in the outfield with how many guys he strikes out. Every time he grabs the ball, the game's over."
The 24-year-old right-hander is on pace for 56 saves, a total reached only twice previously: Bobby Thigpen saved 57 for the White Sox in 1990, and Francisco Rodriguez set the current MLB record with 62 for the Angels in 2008.
Jake Rill is an editorial producer for MLB.com based in Phoenix.