Ex-Red Sox Closer Craig Kimbrel Records 400th Save With Phillies

'OK, game's over, let's enjoy it'


May 27, 2023

Former Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel joined an exclusive club Friday night, becoming just the eighth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to record 400 saves.

Kimbrel, who pitched three seasons with Boston, took the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies, and similar to current Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen, who also hit No. 400 this season, Kimbrel notched the feat by taking on his former club the Atlanta Braves — seizing a 6-4 victory at Truist Park.

The four-time National League saves leader faced four hitters in reaching the milestone and prepared ahead of time by gathering a strong crew of friends and family in attendance to watch the moment live where Kimbrel’s big league career began 13 years ago.

“I’m happy it was here in Atlanta, happy I’m with family,” Kimbrel said postgame, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. “The majority of my family was here to see it — getting to take it in and enjoy it with them is great. The first thing was like, ‘Whew, glad he hit that ball to third base and didn’t hit it out.’ But then it was, ‘OK, game’s over, let’s enjoy it.'”

Kimbrel’s latest career achievement places him in legendary company, joining Mariano Rivera (652 saves), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), Francisco Rodríguez (437), John Franco (424) and Kenley Jansen (401) as the only others to have ever reached 400 saves.

He also did so in just 730 total appearances, which made Kimbrel the third reliever ever to hit No. 400 in under 800 games — Rivera (697) and Hoffman (706) were the only others to do so in fewer relief appearances.

The season overall, though, hasn’t gone in Kimbrel’s favor. Once feared as arguably baseball’s most elite closer during Kimbrel’s peak, the right-hander has struggled mightily with Philadelphia, notching a substandard 5.68 ERA in 19 innings tossed. In the month of May, Kimbrel embarked on nine calls out of the bullpen, recording a 7.88 ERA and allowing seven earned runs in eight innings.

Save No. 400 was also Kimbrel’s sixth of the campaign.

“My goal is to show up and be ready to pitch in those opportunities as much as I can,” Kimbrel explained, per Zolecki. “Knowing that if I was closing games, I was hoping to get 35-40 (saves) a year, doing my job. That’s about it.”

Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images
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