The St. Louis Cardinals are still a game under .500 but their closer, Alex Reyes, is now the owner of an MLB record for his performance.
It feels like everything we’ve written about St. Louis Cardinals closer Alex Reyes has centered just around how dominant he’s been this season, and for good reason. He has established himself as one of baseball’s premiere relievers and on Sunday, he made history.
Reyes set a new MLB record by converting the first 24 saves of his career. He is 22 for 22 on the season and converted a save to secure a series victory against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium.
It’s another accolade in what has been a dominant season for Reyes. When the Cardinals moved him to the bullpen, they envisioned him having success in a high-leverage relief role while pitching 100+ innings. While he has not on pace to hit that number of innings, his 1.45 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 43.1 innings put him in elite company and far exceed what the Cardinals ever thought was possible for Reyes.
Reyes has made it no secret that he wants to pitch in the rotation again, perhaps as early as 2022, but will the Cardinals want to change what has been a resounding success? Moving Reyes to the rotation could be playing with fire, especially with his extensive injury history, and the team could elect to go with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
Regardless, what Reyes has done this season is beyond impressive. It’s why the bullpen vs. rotation debate will be among the most talked about once this season ends.
In the meantime, however, what Reyes is doing – along with a dominant bullpen and an offense that is showing signs of life early in the second half – could propel the Cardinals back toward the top of the National League Central and in contention with the Milwaukee Brewers.