John Axford saved all three games of the Brewers’ weekend series against the Cubs, pushing his season total to 40. He’s the second closer in the majors to the 40-save mark this season, and is now tied with Atlanta rookie Craig Kimbrel for the MLB lead. Looking back, that’s pretty incredible considering how worried some of us were to start the year.
Getting to 40 saves also means that Axford is all alone in second place on the Brewers’ single-season saves list. Francisco Cordero set the franchise record with 44 saves in 2007. Barring injury or a September meltdown, it seems like the single season record is Axford’s to lose.
With Sunday’s rocky save, Axford also tied Derrick Turnbow for 5th on the Brewers’ all-time saves list, with 65 career saves. It’s sort of fitting, then, that Sunday’s save would be of the heart attack variety, given that was Turnbow’s style. Next on the all-time saves list are Mike Fetters and Bob Wickman, who are tied for third in club history with 79 saves. It’s hard to see Axford getting that far this season, but it’s possible he could get as high as second on the all-time Brewers list (Rollie Fingers, 97) next season.
As I’ve written before, I’m not really a fan of the save stat, but that shouldn’t take away from how good Axford has been this season. After Sunday, 20 of his saves have now been of the one-run variety, which is pretty impressive (even if he had a hand in making some of those one-run games). Not only is Axford putting together one of the best seasons by a Brewers relief pitcher, but he’s quickly climbing up the ranks of the best relievers in club history.
Not bad for a guy plucked out of independent ball in Canada.