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Mariners’ Edwin Díaz wins American League Reliever of the Year award

Edwin Díaz is the first Mariners pitcher to win a Reliever of the Year award. (AP)

After a season in which Edwin Díaz smashed the Mariners’ single-season saves record and tied Bobby Thigpen for the second-most ever in history, it’s no surprise that the 24-year-old phenom is the 2018 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year.

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That became official on Saturday afternoon, as Díaz became the first Mariners pitcher to win the award, including when it was known as the Delivery Man Award from 2005 through 2013.

Milwaukee’s Josh Hader won the National League version of the honor, the Trevor Hoffman Award.

Díaz converted 57 of 61 save opportunities, maintaining a 1.96 ERA with 124 strikeouts and 17 walks over 73 1/3 innings (73 appearances). He earned his first All-Star selection along the way, getting the save opportunity in the ninth inning in Washington, D.C., though he had to settle for the win as the National League handed him a rare blown save. Díaz also won four of the six American League Reliever of the Month awards handed out this year, including three straight from June through August.

Díaz’s 57 saves trail only Francisco Rodriguez for the most in MLB history; Rodriguez recorded 62 saves in 2008 with the Angels. Díaz tied Thigpen, whose 57 saves were the record from 1990 until Rodriguez broke it, for second all-time. Díaz’s 27 saves after entering a game with a one-run lead is a Major League record for a season.

In not even three full MLB seasons, the Puerto Rico native already ranks second in Mariners history in career saves with 109, with only Kazuhiro Sasaki ahead of him at 129. Since earning the first save of his career on Aug. 2, 2016, Díaz leads the majors with 109 saves, ahead of the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen (95) and Red Sox’s Craig Kimbrel (90).

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