Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The K-Rod Difference

When you think about it, K-Rod is no different than any of our other relievers from the past. He gives up base hits like John Franco. He fails to throw first pitch strikes like Braden Looper. He throws hard, but can get hit hard like Benitez and Wagner.

The only difference between K-Rod and our past relievers is in the end he gets the job done.

Last night was the perfect case in point. The scenario in last night's 9th inning has been played out countless times before over the course of the last decade. Mets are up a few runs in the 9th. Closer comes in. Base hit. Then another base hit. Then a walk. Then a run scores and the winning run is at the plate and the tying run at second base.

We've all seen it. And we know what happens. The closer blows the game. But that's not what happened last night.

To say K-Rod has a flair for the dramatic would be like saying John Daly has a weight problem. K-Rod loves the spotlight. He loves the tense moments. And you know what, he thrives in them.

Other than Luis Castillo's Buckneresque play the other night, K-Rod has been perfect even when he has found himself, or gotten himself, in dicey situations.

This is the first time the Mets have had a real closer who can handle the pressure. I love that he wasn't going to take any garbage from Bruney. Now other closers, like Wagner or Franco, may have played it out in the media with some jawing back and forth, but K-Rod backs up his smack by going straight after Brian Bruney on the field..

That's the kind of guy I want closing out games. I know he's going to blow a few saves this season because no one is perfect. But for the first time in a long time, I feel confident that the man pitching in the 9th inning knows how to seal the deal.

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