MIAMI -- A.J. Ramos has been perfect this year, and he needs just one more save to tie Steve Cishek's franchise-record 33 straight saves -- a mark set in 2013.
The Marlins closer, who didn't get a chance to pitch in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Cubs, has converted 32 of 32 save opportunities dating back to last season. In the final two games of the series against the Cubs this weekend, Ramos might just get his shot to match the record.
"You have to consider him, at least at this point, as one of the top guys out there," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said recently.
Ramos is 23-for-23 in save opportunities this year, a club record for consecutive saves to open a season that he keeps extending. Only Mets closer Jeurys Familia has more saves in the Majors this year (25) and consecutively since last season (41).
Ramos and Familia are among just a handful of pitchers with 15 or more save opportunities who have not blown a save this year. But Mattingly, who's watched Ramos escape trouble on more than one occasion, knows his closer can't stay perfect forever.
"There are top guys out there who blow saves. It's going happen," Mattingly said. "It's going to happen to A.J. at some point; hopefully next year."
Ramos' 1.78 ERA has anchored a bullpen that has helped the Marlins stay above .500 for a majority of the season. In nearly half a season, Ramos has undoubtedly impressed Mattingly.
"He's definitely been better than expectations," Mattingly said.
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.