Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Off Year for Closers?

Depending on your perspective, the role and demands of a closer may be a piece of cake or a stressful, ulcer-causing task. Entering September it seems very rare for some of today’s big league closers to stop opposing hitters and save the game in a smooth and peaceful manner.

Read on about Dale’s views about closer’s (Thanks, Dale, from Marty Lurie)
Even the most elite, feared and established closers such as Mariano River, Trevor Hoffman, Troy Percival, and Rob Nenn, are giving their fans a little more adventure than required. Of course, Rivera has his battles with injury, he still has allowed more hits than innings pitched, and has allowed a few well documented walk off homers this year.

What happened to the era in which the thought of a feared closer entering the game, pretty much determined the outcome. Often-times, the game was already done, the closer just had to go through the motions and get the last three outs of the game.

Names like Dennis Eckersley, Lee Smith and Tom Henke come to mind as closers that caused a fear in opposing hitters and electrified the stadium.

But today? If you’re an A’s and Angel fan you see the adventures and mental block of closers Troy Percival and Billy Koch. Both have dominating stuff, but lately nothing comes easy for the two, which may be interesting come post season.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few closers out there that are doing their job with harmony such as Greg Gagne, John Smoltz and Kazuheri Sasaki, but the rest have somewhat been inconsistent and have caused a nervous breakdown for many of their fans. And many still get the desired save, although playing with fire each opportunity.

Are today’s closers lacking command? Do they have the makeup and aura to shut down the heart of a lineup?

In an era where hitters sometimes selfishly will swing at a 3-0 or 3- 1 pitch late in a game, you would think that the pitcher has the advantage, but nothing comes easy for the 2002 closers. Will it ever be easy?



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