Paul Abraham turns it up a notch

In any other minor league system, Paul Abraham would be an anchor for the bullpen of the major league club. Unfortunately for Abraham, the Padres are loaded in the bullpen, posting the lowest ERA in the majors. The success above him, however, hasn't stopped Abraham from dominating for the Double-A San Antonio Missions.

Paul Abraham has allowed runs in just three out of his 24 appearances this year, posting an ERA of 2.20 through 28.2 innings. In fact, without his May 10th performance, in which he allowed five runs, Abraham would have a 0.73 ERA. The 6-foot-2 righty has held hitters to a .170 average, has been dominate and reliable for the Missions, and he shouldn't have to wait two long to move up.

His dominance of the Texas league, had allowed manager Randy Ready to rely on him in high-pressure situations.

Abraham doesn't mind coming in for damage control.

"Just throw a strike low in the zone and let them hit it, let the guys behind the hitter handle it," he said. "That's what it is all about. You need that and having trust in the guys behind you."

This comes from keeping the mental sides of things in control.

Glenn Abbott, the Missions pitching coach, at times has said that Abraham's biggest problem is over analyzing things. Abraham argues that the thinking all comes before the game.

"If you're thinking a little bit too hard before the game, when you get in the game, you're almost afraid to make the pitch, and you don't trust your stuff," said Abraham.

It seems as though Abraham has figured out the mental side of the game, because his coaches have shown a lot of trust in him. Abraham prefers the high pressure situations because it gives him a chance to prove himself.

"It means everything," Abraham admitted. "I love it. The more pressure the better. The low octane or low adrenaline situations, where you just get a courtesy an inning in the ninth are o.k.. It's good to get your work in but you're really not feeling the pressure of the baseball game that you're getting in the 8th and 7th of a close game."

Being able to pitch in a close game has come from being able to getting the leadoff hitter out.

Abraham explained that getting the leadoff hitter out comes from throwing first pitch strikes.

"Pitching to the leadoff hitter, you don't want to get that guy on. When you come in the game with the lead off hitter, you just want to throw strike one, and let what ever happens, happen."

For now Abraham has to wait for his chance.

"I can't control what happens above or what happens below me, what the guy can do above me, or what the guy can do below me. So I just have to keep going out there and doing my job, and helping the Missions win. Just the rest take care of itself."

Abraham shouldn't wait to long. Next stop, Portland and from there he can write his own history.


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