Friday, April 8, 2011

No set closer yet

NEW YORK -- The Nationals enter today's game with two victories this season, each of them games that included a save situation. And each time, manager Jim Riggleman called upon Sean Burnett to close it out.

That doesn't, however, mean the Nationals have settled upon Burnett as their closer.

Riggleman reiterated this afternoon he's still open to using either Burnett or Drew Storen in save situations, depending on the situation at hand.

"Early on here, we'll continue to look who's coming up," the manager said. "If we just had nothing but two right-handers who could hit the ball out of the ballpark, I might want Storen facing them. If it was a left-hander who could hit it out of the ballpark mixed in there, I'd probably have Burnett face them."
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The Joker said...

Since we lucked out on Carl Pavano, perhaps we could trade Craig Stammen and Garrett Mock for Matt Capps.

Tcostant said...

Classic manager talk, lets face the facts. Burnett is the closer until further notice. Now if he blows a couple saves, things could change, but before then he is the closer.

sjm308 said...

Disagree with tcostant -
Storen is getting better each day and I think Riggs will get back to him sooner than later. Nice to have the options though, don't you think?

Tcostant said...

If Storen gets a save chance before Burnett blows a save, I'll eat my hat.

JD said...

Nice going Espi. Take the walks if they'l give them to you.

Theophilus said...

The way things are going suits me fine. Until somebody else qualifies for the job, it looks like Clippard has to be the seventh inning guy, hopefully for not more than the one inning. Because Burnett is the best left-hander in the bullpen, Riggleman needs to have him available for situational use in the eighth or ninth. That dictates that Storen starts the eighth and, if the circumstances dictate, Burnett closes.

From another perspective, if Burnett doesn't close, he is more important as a situational left-hander than as just another relief pitcher. It makes no sense to trot out your left-handed ace to start the eighth inning if he's looking at three right-handed hitters. So Burnett gets used in higher-priority situations, and more often, if he's the closer rather than just another arm in the bullpen.

He also seems to have an arm, and a fluid motion, that make it possible for him to go 1 1/3 or 1 2/3 innings if necessary.

If Burnett converts more than 80 percent of his save opportunities, he stays "the closer."

Cwj said...

@Theophilus, remember though that Burnett is no "Lefty-Only" pitcher. Right handed hitters only hit .172 against him last year.
He is more than capable of getting out hitters from both sides of the plate.
And, as you mentioned, he can pitch more than just 1 inning.

Theophilus said...

Cwj --

No argument. I just say you don't make him a general purpose pitcher in the eighth if you might need him for a specific hitter in the ninth.

Hal Mangold said...

"Clip, Store, & Burn" is a t-shirt waiting to happen if these guys hold up throughout the season.

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