Posts tagged “Mariano Rivera

Spring Training Teasers: Couch Side’s top five closers for 2012


BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchsideshow.com writer

No longer will the skipper climb out of the dugout, walk to the mound and signal for the closer in the seventh inning, heck, rarely will they call for him in the eighth. Most guys throw one inning, unless it is an important game, then the closer will get the next game or two off. Either way, closers are the guys who slam the door shut, or are the goat for the night. Here’s a few pitchers who I would call upon in the ninth innings this season.

5. John Axford, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford earned 40-plus saves during his first year as Milwaukee's go-to-guy in the ninth inning. Photo by: Steve Paluch / Flickr

Shoved into the closer role, Axford did not disappoint. He posted 46 saves, 86 strikeouts in 73.2 innings pitched and blew only two saves. He got stronger after the all-star break and cut down on his walks. His 49 percent ground ball rate helped him record an ERA of 1.95. Although he has Francisco Rodriguez behind him, Axford has proved to be composed. One thing that worries me is his 59 hits given up. He will need to get more swing and misses without the same lineup in Milwaukee. (more…)

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Athletes should learn from Posada


New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada retired last week after 17 seasons with the Yankees. Photo by: Jay / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Athletes like major league catcher Jorge Posada are truly a thing of the past.

The 40-year-old backstop hung up his cleats last week, officially retiring from baseball and the New York Yankees, a team he spent all 17 years of his professional career with. Like many of the Yankee greats before him, Posada stuck out every single minute of his major league tenure in one uniform. It doesn’t happen often, but ball players who wear the Yankee pinstripes seem to know a thing or two about being faithful.

In the completely unusual instance that the Yanks actually bring up a minor leaguer from their own farm system, it seems that player will stay in the Big Apple until they’re ready to call it quits. It must be the nostalgia of the pinstripes or just the history behind the team. Whatever it is, players who come up through New York’s system are some of the most faithful athletes to one team than literally any other sport I can think of. It’s somewhat hard to believe considering the Yanks are regarded by most fans as the Sith Lords of baseball with their high-dollar spending. But the proof is out there for anyone to validate my claim.

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