Geoff Geary: Building on Little Successes

Geoff Geary came into spring training in 2004 hoping to make the Phillies club out of spring training. With the bullpen additions of the offseason, it was unlikely there would be a spot for him, but with two-plus seasons at AAA and five major league games at the end of the 2003 season, he felt he was definitely ready. Well, 2004 has been up and down for Geary in every way imaginable, but getting his first major league victory may be the turn around he needed.

The downs; Struggles at the major league level (6.68 ERA) and various trips north on the PA Turnpike to return to AAA Scranton.

The ups; Success at the AAA level (2.31 ERA) and various trips south on the PA Turnpike to return to Philadelphia.

That's what Geoff Geary's season has consisted of. He seems to be one of those guys trapped in the purgatory between the majors and AAA. He has definitely had enough minor league experience (710 innings) and he is thought to have the stuff that he needs to make it in the majors. It's just a matter of putting it all together.

Saturday night against Milwaukee may have been somewhat of a turning point for Geary. That one inning, that one perfect inning, got Geary his first major league win and a boulder lifted. "I think Geary needed that win. He deserved it and I'm glad for him," said Larry Bowa after the game.

Don't look now, but Geary has put together two perfect innings in a row. That's not a major accomplishment by any means, but it is the first time that Geary has done that in the majors. It comes nowhere near the 28 1/3 inning scoreless run that Geary put together from last June through the early part of August at Scranton, but it's a start. "I think getting that win relaxed me a little and gave me some confidence. Sometimes it gets tough when you keep going out there and can't get the job done," said Geary.

Actually, Geary has seemed to strive in tougher situations. On a couple occasions this season, he has entered a game with runners on base and handled the situation well. In that respect, Geary has somewhat of a closer's mentality. He thrives on working out of tough spots, but too many times this season, they've been tough spots that he created.

Geoff Geary isn't the brightest of prospects. His stuff is good, but he doesn't overpower anybody. He does know how to pitch though and that is half the battle. Even through his struggles at the major league level this season, Geary has struck out 21 hitters in 32 innings, which isn't a bad ratio. Throughout college and high school, Geary showed a passion for winning and worked hard to make himself better. Now, he's going to have to continue to work even harder if he is going to establish himself as a major league reliever.

Two perfect innings isn't much. If it is anything, it is something to build on. It's something that Geary can claim as a success in the majors. Baseball history is replete with pitchers who struggled through the slings and arrows of failure early in their career only to come through with a stronger attitude and a lot of successes. It is much too early to write off Geoff Geary. There is still enough there to make him a part of the Phillies bullpen for a long-time to come, especially if he can build on his short, recent success. Hopefully, next time out turns two innings into three and before long, three becomes four. That's how success is built. One step at a time. For Geoff Geary, it's one inning at a time.

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