The days of Goose Gossage and Rollie Fingers are gone. There are no closers that pitch more than one inning in baseball; not in Cincinnati or even New York at Yankee Stadium.
Mariano Rivera used to do it but baseball and the handling of bullpens has changed dramatically. Dusty Baker and his top pitching advisors Bryan Price and Mack Jenkins are going to experiment with Aroldis Chapman to buck the trend.
David Weathers was the last Reds' closer to routinely pitch multiple innings for saves. Weathers saved 33 games in 2005 and pitched more than one inning in 11 of them.
"Number one a pitcher needs a rubber arm," Baker said. "Number two he has to be able to warm up quickly. Chapman is like a sports car. It takes him awhile to warm up. It's not like my little truck where I can just turn the key and go. If I used him in that game yesterday (14 inning loss to Chicago on Thursday) I would have lost him for a weekend."
Critics were boisterous after the loss to the Cubs in which Baker did not use Chapman.
"I had him warming up three times because it looked like we might have the lead," Baker said. "If you use him in the eighth we would have had to get him up in the beginning of the seventh."
Baker was blamed for ruining the careers of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior when both played for Baker with the Cubs. Neither pitcher blame Baker; in fact Prior was signed to a minor league contract by the Reds at Baker's request this spring.
"I've been tarred and feathered for overusing pitchers. Why would anyone insist that I do that with Chapman? We have to figure out a way to bridge the gap to get to Chapman," Baker said
Broxton, the losing pitcher in Chicago, has been hurting for days. He did not appear in the four games prior to Thursday. He was the Reds' last possible choice in a game that theoretically could have gone several innings longer.
"That was a bad situation," Baker said. "Even if we won it was a bad situation. It puts even more pressure on Bronson (Arroyo)." Arroyo started the weekend series with the Brewers. "We wanted to get another inning out of Latos but his arm was sore so we took him out.
Broxton was examined on Friday. The results of the examination are not available.
"We were trying to hold out until we came back here to examine Broxton. We wanted to keep that quiet," Baker said.
The recent troubles with Sam LeCure have led to a couple of late inning meltdowns.
"He was so good for awhile," Baker said. "You're not going to go a whole year in the big leagues without getting hit some. He made a bad pitch to (Alphonso) Soriano, when he singled and was thrown out at second. He made some close pitches to (Nate) Schierholtz, who walked. Then he jammed the shit out of (Darwin) Barney and he blooped a single. Nobody feels worse than LeCure or Broxton. Sometimes a pitcher can make a good pitch and not get good results."
Johnny Cueto thinks that he will start the game on Sunday. He was hurrying out to throw when reporters asked him.
"I think I will," Cueto said.
|Professionally edited by ML Schirmer|
for proof reading services call