Closer job up for grabs?

At the press conference of the O’s 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays and the end of the 3 game sweep of the O’s, manager Dave Trembley was asked a question about the closer situauton, and Trembley said it was ‘day-to-day’. Let me put this in other words:  other people than George Sherrill, the O”s representative in the 2008 All-star game, will not be the only one getting save oppurtunities right now. Trembley said he will do what is best for the team to get back on track and start winning. 

Sherrill has struggled this season, going 4 for 6 in save oppurtunities, which is decent, but he has a 5.06 ERA and has allowed 3 homeruns, two which gave the opposing team the lead.  And it was noted in the Baltimore Sun that Sherill  is allowing righties to hit .394 off him in the early goings. Thats pretty bad. It also states that Trembley said that Sherrill is putting pitches in bad spots and is getting hit, spots he didnt put pitches in last season. And the most worrying stat is that Sherrill has blown 6 of his last 8 one-run lead save oppurtunities, and dating back to last year, is just 13 for his last 19. That is also, not good.

Who could be getting save chances you ask? Well, two names pop into mind, and thats the O’s top set-up guy in Jim Johnson, and O’s top long relief pitcher, Danys Baez. Johnson has a 2.70 ERA in 10 apperaences in 2009, posting 10 innings pitched and 7 strikeouts, while Baez has a 2.63 ERA in 8 appearences, posting 13 and 2/3 innings and 12 strikeouts. There is a good chance that both of these guys would be good closers, and im all for them getting a oppurtunity here and there, but i will give you a couple good reasons why not to push Sherrill out just yet.

For one, it is early, and it is only 6 oppurtunities. If it was 12 for 20, it would be a problem. Two, throwing someone else in the closer role could mess up some of the good things we have going in the otherwise sturggling bullpen. Johnson is one of the games top young set-up guys, and who are you going to put as the set-up guy if Johnson is closing? Sherrill will have some sort of adjustment going back to set-up duty, and his confidence might be damaged, and then you have Chris Ray, who is still looking to get back on track, posting a really bad 7.56 ERA. Then if you put Baez in, who do you have to pitch long relief? Albers and Sarfate, two long relievers you needed to do good, are sturggling and in AAA and the other is hurt. So then you have no long reliever. Not good.

Look, i cant say for certain that Sherrill will bounce back and be his old All-star form again, i just cant. Maybe the scouting report got out on him really fast, and he is having trouble counter-adjusting, I have no idea, im not George Sherrill. If he continues to struggle in a month or so, then look for a replacement for closer. But hey, if we do put in Johnson and he goes 10 for 10 with a .50 ERA, then thats that. But dont act like Sherrill is just a stopgap, because hes not. Here, ill give you a 80 percent chance he bounces back by the end of the month. I just have a hunch that he will be fine.

                                                         Logan Quick

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