What is a “closer’s mentality” anyway?

150 Comments

Dash Treyhorn of The Fightins has a long post up today countering the belief among some in Phillies Nation* that Ryan Madson simply doesn’t have a “closer’s mentality.”

We get plenty of Phillies navel-gazing in these parts lately so I don’t post it for that (bring back Steve Bedrosian; I really don’t care who closes games for the Phillies). I post it for the more general observations he makes about such arguments. Arguments which seem to ignore the fact that the best closers year-in and year-out tend to, you know, not have anything approaching a single mentality and, in fact, a lot of them are high-strung loonies.

Dash is right: the whole closer’s mentality thing is a post-facto assessment. If a guy is a good pitcher late in games, voila, he has a closer’s mentality. If not, he doesn’t.  It’s pretty ridiculous stuff.

Anyway, a good read on a topic that is so rife with nonsense.

*The Red Sox have a Nation and the Yankees a Universe. What do the Phillies have?

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.