First save no big deal
Matt Albers knew it had become a running joke among some baseball observers. He had 460 relief appearances, finished games in 102 of them, and somehow had not notched a save in 13 major league seasons. No pitcher had more relief appearances without a save since the save became an official statistic in 1969. Only Ryan Webb had more games finished (105) without one.
Albers, 34, had chances, but the save eluded him. Then he got his first chance of 2017 on Friday — a chance he never imagined just more than a month ago when he failed to make the Nationals’ Opening Day roster and only made possible because the team was without both of its co-closers.
It came at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies with the Nationals leading 4-2. And it looked dicey when he plunked Cesar Hernandez with a slider to begin the outing. But Albers recovered to get the three outs.
“Obviously, knew I hadn’t gotten one,” Albers said. “But I didn’t really think anything of it [and it] wasn’t that big a deal. But it’s nice to get this one. It’s fun, but it’s not the end of the world.”
The Nationals have needed him often and Albers has become indispensable for a bullpen that has struggled thus far.