Colome quietly finding home among MLB best

Colome quietly finding home among MLB best

ST. PETERSBURG -- Many baseball fans have missed it, but Alex Colome led the Major Leagues in saves this year. In the Rays' 4-3 win over the Orioles on Saturday, Colome notched his 47th save.

With his next-closest competitor sitting at 41 saves, before Saturday evening's action was complete, Colome became the first Rays closer to lead the Majors in the statistic. Manager Kevin Cash advocated for Colome after the game, wondering how his trusted closer could be so overlooked in conversations about the game's best.

"What he's done, he's doing it in the American League East, and that says a lot," Cash said. "And what he's done the last two years, [he has] just been so consistent."

Colome nailed down 37 saves in 40 chances last year with a 1.91 ERA. He allowed one run Saturday to raise his 2017 ERA to 3.24, while locking down 47 of his 53 opportunities this season.

"Just amazing how … they're not always easy, and when they're not easy, he seems to have a knack for calming the situation and getting through it," Cash said of Colome, who did not speak with reporters after Saturday's game. "And that's really a sign of a strong closer, a strong-minded closer that can go out there and help you get a lot of wins."

The closing prowess is easy to see, for those in the dugout and those in the field behind him.

"He's just steady," second baseman Brad Miller said. "There's not a lot of emotion out there. The rare occurrence that he doesn't close it out, it doesn't matter … he'll reel off the next 15 in a row."

Colome hadn't pitched in a week before taking the mound Saturday, last being used Sept. 23 for a save in Baltimore. The first two batters he faced picked up hits Saturday but Colome recovered, needing 12 pitches to retire the side.

"He hadn't pitched in a while, maybe knocked some rust off for a second there, but then continued to make pitches and just really put a cap on a pretty impressive season on his part," Cash said. "To lead all of baseball in saves speaks volumes about the type of season Alex Colome just had."

Connor Mount is a reporter for based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.