(GAME DATE – Sep. 19, 2019) — The Toronto Nomads closer, Yeong-suk Yi, has finally ended his consecutive saves streak at 36, after blowing his first save since 2013 in a game against the Montreal Metros.
In an ironic twist, he had been playing for the Montreal Metros when he began that streak 6 seasons ago. Yi had spent some of that season as a starter, making 11 starts for the Metros, but also 9 relief appearances, collecting 8 saves that year.
He went on to alternate as a starter and reliever for several more seasons in Montreal, notching 3 more saves as a middle reliever in 2014, then 6 more as a part-time starter the next year. In 2016, his last year in Montreal, he added 5 more saves in 18 relief appearances, again working mainly from the middle relief role.
In 2017, Yi was signed by California, where he was a starter. Traded that year to Anchorage, he continued in the rotation, and did not make another relief appearance until he was picked up by Calgary for the 2018 season. With the Inferno, he made 8 starts, and 20 relief appearances, adding 4 more saves to his total.
The Toronto Nomads signed the 31 year old and made him their full-time closer for the 2019 season, by which time he had already run his unbroken saves streak to 23 without a blown opportunity. He exploded out of the gates as a solid closer, adding 12 more saves and 3 wins before being sidelined on May 10th with a ruptured tendon in a finger on his throwing hand.
After sitting out for 4 months, he made a triumphant return, notching his 13th save of 2019 on September 16 in a 4-1 win at Boston, appearing for just a third of an inning.
When he took to the mound against Montreal tonight, Toronto led 3-2. Metros DH Carlos Escobedo lead off with a double to right, which was quickly followed by a Shugo Morimoto fly out to center to move Escobedo to third. SS Corrosive Joseph then took to the plate, still with no outs, and drove in Escobedo on a single to shallow right field.
With the game tied, leadoff hitter LF Brian Currell was walked. Justin Hurtt then struck out, bringing LF Jose Ramirez to the plate with 1 out and 2 on. Ramirez swatted a shallow fly ball to the right field gap, and Joseph rounded third and made for home, beating the throw from John Webster, and scoring the winning run.
Toronto fell to 83-69 on the season with the loss, and are still just hanging on to the 2nd wild card spot just 2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Hops, who are 81-71.
Yi is now 6th on the all-time saves streak list, behind Arturo Davila, who is at 37 games, set in 2012. The record is held by Brian Bell, who reached 45 consecutive saves in 1998.