Wood slams door as Indianapolis closer

After starting the 2012 season off on a bad foot and struggling to be consistent on top of the mound, Indianapolis Indians relief pitcher Tim Wood changed his attitude and the way he plays to become a successful closer for the Tribe.

"My mechanics were a little bit off. I was rushing towards the plate, and I wasn't executing pitches," Wood said. "I also had a little bit of an attitude adjustment. I didn't have the right attitude every time taking the mound and executing pitches the way I needed to. So I took a step back and recognized that and it seems to be translating so far."

Since pulling his act together, Wood has recorded a total of seven saves as a closer with an ERA of 0.71. He was labeled as one of the Indians' best players in the month of June, along with fellow starting pitchers Justin Wilson and Jeff Locke. Overall this season Wood is 3-3 with a 1.94 ERA and 12 saves.

Wood said that while he warms up in the bull pen, he thinks about controlling his pitches and staying in the zone.

"[I focus on] just executing pitches and staying down and low," he said. "Getting strike one is very important coming in as a reliever. You don't want that lead off guy to get on base."

The end of any ball game can be stressful, whether you're winning or losing, but according to Wood, it shouldn't be.

"It's three outs no matter how you look at it, whether it's that last three outs of the game, or, before I was a closer, I was coming in at the fifth, so it's three outs either way you look at it," Wood said. "It's nice throwing at home. It's good to have the fans behind you and cheering you one because they want you to win just as much as you do, so it allows you to take that energy and use it towards the pitches you make."

So far this season Victory field has held exactly 324,057 screaming fans which averages out to 8,101 fans per game. Wood said that the most exciting game that he has played in yet this year was the game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 25 in Indianapolis.

"We jumped out to a big lead and then they game back and took the lead. Then we took the lead, and then in the ninth, I got the save opportunity," Wood said. "There was twelve thousand people here and at the end of the game, they were all standing up screaming and it was great for a couple of the guys who hadn't played in a game like that yet this year."

Wood said that it has been fun to have all the fans come out to the games this season. He said that as a pitcher, the crowd can really encourage a guy to do his best and close the game.

"They get behind this team. I mean, last year we were good and we were winning, but we were not getting the crowds like we're getting this year," he said. "I don't want to say it's because we're winning, because Indianapolis supports all of their teams very well, but at the same time you do want to say it's because we're winning. People are coming out and they're expecting us to win and want to see us win. So it makes it nice to come out to the ball park every night and have a chance to see this team win a game."

Wood said that for the second half of the season, he hopes the team will continue to play like they have been and win more games.

"We have a really good thing going here right now; we're winning. It may be nice to play in playoffs," Wood said. "It'd be really nice for the city of Indianapolis and how they get behind this team. It'd be real nice to have them come out and get that playoff atmosphere here in the stadium. So [we'll] just continue winning and hopefully get the chance to get into the playoffs."


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