ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Joe Nathan #36 of the Texas Rangers closes out the inning for the win against the Cleveland Indians at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
There isn't a closer in baseball history with the longevity of Joe Nathan who is more effective.
Sure, of course there's Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, who is the one of the greatest postseason pitchers of our time and has piled up 620 saves, the most in the league history. But no one is more efficient when it comes to converting save opportunities than Nathan has been over his career, which includes 307 saves.
Nathan has converted 89.8 percent of his career save opportunities to Rivera's 89.5 — a slight difference obviously, but Nathan was at it again on Wednesday night in Milwaukee, making good on his ninth save opportunity of 2013 with his ninth save of the season for a perfect 100 percent rate.
Since coming to Texas prior to last season, Nathan has now converted 46 of his 49 save opportunites between 2012 and so far this season, and he's doing it with a diminished velocity this season as his age is starting to get the best of his fastball.
As TexasRangers.com's Mike Bauman pointed out, Nathan's fastball velocity has dropped from 94-95 mph last season to 91-92 mph this year, but it's made no difference so far.
"I think you just learn to try not to do more than you're capable of," Nathan said Wednesday night. "I know my fastball is not the same as it was, but I've learned to get comfortable with a two-seam fastball and kind of move things around a little bit."