Friday, February 22, 2008
"That most regal of all relievers, Mariano Rivera."--Lowe, Detroit Free Press
- That's the title Zach Miner could put on the scene that has taken place the past few years when the Tigers have visited Yankee Stadium.
- "Seeing him in person gives you a feel for how good his stuff is," Miner said. "He has just that one pitch -- the cut fastball -- and he throws it really hard."
Rivera has 443 career saves" (477 "actual" career saves, incl. his 76 post season games--don't they count? SM). "Miner has none. But when Miner looked into Rivera's realm, was he perhaps looking at his own future?
- Could Miner be the man who eventually succeeds Todd Jones as closer?...
- ....listening to Miner, manager Jim Leyland and bullpen coach Jeff Jones, perhaps someday Miner could do for the Tigers what Rivera has done hundreds of times for the Yankees: jog in to the mound to inherit a narrow lead for the ninth inning.
Miner has an intangible qualification for being a closer. He likes the ninth-inning drama.
"I definitely really enjoy that adrenaline rush," Miner said. "You don't get that when you start.
- "It's like the end of the race, the finish. Everything is more compressed and magnified. The fans get a little louder."....
- "He can get loose in a hurry," Jones said. "And he's got a great sinker. I like guys coming out of the bullpen that can sink the ball, because a lot of times you are coming in with guys on base."
- A sinker can produce the double-play grounder.
Jones also likes that Miner enjoys the final-act theater of relief pitching.
- Miner's desire for late-inning work could merge with the Tigers' need for a late-inning reliever. They need to fill the vacancy caused by Joel Zumaya's shoulder injury. They must decide on someone to replace Zumaya and team with Fernando Rodney for the seventh and eighth innings.
Closers don't have to be real young when they begin their ninth-inning work. On March 12, Miner turns 26. That's how old Rivera was when he recorded his first save."
- From Detroit Free Press article by John Lowe, "Could Zach Miner be a Closer? Mariano Rivera serves as Inspiration for righty reliever," 2/22/08