Chris McGrath/Getty Images
By Todd Farino, http://www.thecloserreport.com/
Baseball is here, and the closers are coming out to play. Here is the report from April 5, 2010.
Note: Since there are days off early in the season, we are seeing lots of closers just getting work in but not coming in for a save opportunity.
Pitching for the injured Huston Street, Morales looked good but still got roughed up by the Brewers. He opened up the ninth a bit nervous and hit Rickie Weeks. He then gave up a double to Carlos Gomez but settled down after that, getting the next three batters out on hard line drives. Morales looked good, but he was hit hard.
Let's hope he can improve on that and rack up the strikeouts.
Brian Wilson (1)
Wilson entered the game with one out in the ninth after Brandon Medders gave up a couple of runs. Wilson looked very sharp getting out both batters he faced, striking out Tommy Manzella. In all, he needed seven pitches to end the game.
David Aardsma (1)
Aardsma got a save thanks to Kevin Kouzmanoff. Aardsma shook off a shaky spring to mow down three batters, striking out two. His command was a little off, but his fastball was sharp and looked much better than it did just a week ago.
Brian Fuentes (1)
Fuentes started off strong with a 1-2-3 perfect inning save. He struck out one on 10 pitches. He was set up nicely by Fernando Rodney, and he looked in midseason form already.
Jason Frasor (1, 0-1)
Frasor blew his first save of the season and looked awful against a tough Texas lineup. Frasor was hit hard, giving up two doubles and a game-winning long single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The line isn't pretty: 0.1 IP, 2ER, 4H, 1 IBB, 1K. Frasor's pitches looked weak. His velocity wasn't there, and his breaking ball was flat.
Frank Francisco (1-0)
Francisco pitched a near perfect ninth and ended up with the win for Texas. On 17 pitches, he struck out two and gave up one hit.
Here is the Ryan Franklin I know. Granted, it's his first appearance of the season and the score was 11-4 when he came in, but he still didn't pitch well. His pitches were flat and very hittable.
He got lucky bad swings from Jonny Gomes and Orlando Cabrera for outs but gave up three hits to Chris Dickerson, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips. The end result was two runs and no strikeouts in a wasted appearance for the Cardinals closer.
Bailey looked healthy, but he wasn't his sharpest. He got screwed on an error by Kevin Kouzmanoff and them gave up a 2-1 base hit to Casey Kotchman that scored two unearned runs. Regardless of the outcome, Bailey owners can let out a sigh of relief that their closer is all right. Brad Ziegler took the loss.
Pitched a perfect and quiet ninth inning for the Mets. He showed excellent command, only needing 14 pitches to take out the Marlins.
Faced three batters, striking out one. He only needed 10 pitches to end the game and looked outstanding.
Wagner made his first appearance as a Brave and looked like the Wagner of old. He struck out two on 11 pitches. He faced the minimum three batters.
Valverde came into the ninth inning with a four-run lead, and he was pumped up as only Valverde can be. He wasn't his sharpest, as he needed 24 pitches to close out the game. He did have to work around a walk and an error, but in the end a strong inning. He recorded one strikeout.
Thornton looked great for the White Sox, pitching a perfect ninth. He struck out two and needed 10 pitches, throwing all strikes. He's my odds-on favorite to get the job if Bobby Jenks fails to hold on to it.
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