Tim Worrell was handed the job of being the team closer just days before the season opened, and this veteran pitcher has erased all doubts anyone has had. Why did people have doubts? Simple... One of the league's best, and arguably one of the Giants' best ever, closer was lost before the season began and would be out for the rest of the season. Panic button.
Stash away "The Closer" commercial, and throw the big responsibility onto the shoulders of the set-up man. Where's that panic button? Well, Worrell threw that button into the ocean like his change-up to Todd Helton... And it's the same result for both: you're out.
As I've said time and time again- dating back from one of my first articles on Worrell- he's the best the Giants could get for this season. After seeing what Worrell was capable of doing, any team would jump at the opportunity to have this guy come into the ninth inning for them.
Worrell is not an over-powering pitcher. You won't see him send guys back to the dugout on a 98 mph fastball, and you may even see some guys get a few hits off him, but Worrell is able to get out of trouble, and Worrell is able to get saves. Whatever he does, it works, and with him leading the bullpen, the Giants have one of the top notch pens in the entire league.
Short term memory. That is the biggest requirement for a reliever, and Worrell is no different. He's had his rough outings, but he always manages to bounce back. He needs to be worked often, and his confidence brings him to think that the pressure is on the batter, not on the pitcher, in a ninth inning situation where the offense is trying to score runs. Good thinking there.
His confidence may also get a boost with the Giants' defense set up behind him. Any pitcher would be thrilled to be able to throw the ball over the plate, dare the batter to hit it, then allow the defense to do the rest. The Giants' defense has bailed out pitchers many times, and with Worrell it's no different. Baseball is a team sport, and requires team effort. The Giants give Worrell that, and therefore, he doesn't have the pressure of needing to strike out every batter he faces.
Closing out games is a very difficult job, You've got the other team who wants to tag you with a blown save, you've got your own teammates counting on you to bring them home, and you've got yourself to deal with and to control in this situation. It is very easy for an immature and untrained pitcher to go into games in the later innings, especially on the road, with pressure filled to their necks.
Worrell was meant for this job. He takes the pressure and throws it right back at the batter. His "why should I worry when I have the lead" attitude has gotten him far, and even though his name isn't thrown around, or even thought of, when baseball mentions closers, he right up there with the elite.
He's not Eric Gagne, he's no Billy Wagner, and he's certainly not a John Smoltz... But I say that as a compliment. How much better it is to humbly go into a game, save it and go home, than to go into a gave in a save situation where everyone's looking for you to blow a save? Humble, that's the key to Worrell, to the bullpen, and to this team.
The point here is that there shouldn't be any complaining about Worrell. If anything, the organization and its fans should be thrilled at the success he's had closing games this season. That's such a "no duh" statement, correct?
He, like all the others mentioned in this series of articles, were mentioned not because I think they want recognition and they want to be overrated, but because what they've done to help the team this season has gone unnoticed for too long, even though much of it is very significant to the team's success.
God knows who WOULD want to take credit. If you put the entire team in a room and ask them who's responsible for the division title, fingers would be pointing. No, not the middle finger, but fingers indicating respect to each other, saying, "It's not me who got us here, it's them."
It's time to bring it home, boys!
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at email@example.com
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