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Unlikely closer emerges for Nats
Question of the Day
And after watching him post a 1.50 ERA over his last 12 innings - a span that has included only four walks - they decided to give him his first crack at closing.
“When somebody has that type of stuff, you automatically think he’s got closer stuff,” Acta said. “But we also knew we had to take it slow and step-by-step because of his control issues. It was a matter of him being able to feel comfortable pitching in the sixth, seventh, eighth. We’ll see. We’ll have two months to find out what he can do.”
The Nationals appear committed to giving Hanrahan a prolonged audition. With little left to play for in 2008, the season’s remaining 62 games will be used primarily for evaluation purposes.
On the surface, the transition shouldn’t be a big deal. Hanrahan has been pitching effectively in relief for several months now. But anyone who has ever held the closer’s role before knows pitching in the ninth inning is entirely different from pitching the eighth.
“I think you’ve got to kind of approach it the same, go out there and try to throw a scoreless inning like I usually do,” Hanrahan said. “I’m excited, ready for the challenge.”
About the Author
By Matt Kibbe
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