Sunday, May 12, 2024

Always Be Closing: You Try Hitting Him


And now, a brief moment to talk about me, and what I do. I try not to do this, it's honestly truly immaterial, but I've been given no choice in the matter. 

I coach for a Challenger Little League in the area. Kids and young adults with disabilities come by every sunday, and we put them through the whole clinic, and a lot of them can really mash. One guy damn near put a dent in the scoreboard a couple weeks back. Thankfully I'm on his good side. But anyway I've been training myself to pitch, and with these guys you just have to give them something they can hit. Some of them want velocity, and I do have a heater for that, but usually I'm just throwing softies and hoping they're not too far outside. I'm still relatively young, y'know, 28, and I don't have a ton of soreness after, or even the next day. I mean maybe a little, but I know people that'll throw for an hour on sunday and be terribly achey for two days after. I'm not there yet but I'm teetering on the brink.

So...if after throwing some fairly relaxed speeds for an hour or so, I feel it just a little bit...I cannot imagine the conditioning needed to be able to not only throw 100 miles an hour, but keep throwing 100 miles an hour, for roughly 30 or so pitches every few days. I cannot imagine what I'd need to do in order to do that AND STAY HEALTHY. 

So looking at somebody like Mason Miller, I go '...god bless, man'. Dude gets up there, throws 100 miles an hour, nobody hits him, leaves. And keeps at it. I hope he can keep doing that as long as possible, because man is he a difference maker in Oakland.

Mason Miller flirted with starting last year, but after an injury the A's thought it best to keep him as a relief option. I initially disagreed with this, I thought he was one of the best starters the A's had last year. But y'know, the A's were thinking arm conservation, and all things considered that's the better idea here. And then a funny thing happened- top of the season he's #1 in the depth chart for the bullpen, they don't exactly get a closing option, Trevor May's retired...hey, kid with the 100 mile an hour fastball, y'wanna close? 

And so that's how we got here. The A's have a lot of save situations, being a fairly middle of the road team with flawed starting pitching, and so in those situations they put Miller in, and then...nobody can hit him. Which is a helpful trait if you're a closing pitcher. That used to be Josh Hader for a while. Miller's crazy because whenever he pitches, like all 5 of the top pitch velocities will belong to him, and then Codify will just go 'well....Mason Miller pitched today'. With Skenes he's probably gonna have some competition, but just as he is now he's just filthy out there. Not many teams have really gotten to him, and he's even shut down the Yankees. 

So far, in 13 games, Miller has a 1.10 ERA, 8 saves and 33 strikeouts. That K number rivals the starters, with only Paul Blackburn having a larger figure. Right now, Miller has a NEGATIVE fielding-independent pitching figure, which is something I didn't even know was possible. And he's clearly been one of the best assets on the A's this year. Which is wild, because, as discussed, the A's aren't even that terrible this year. Blackburn, Rooker, Bleday, Langeliers and somehow Abraham Toro are all having great seasons. New call-ups like Joey Estes and Tyler Soderstrom have been great so far. There's...HOPE. And they're only a few games under .500, which was unthinkable last year.

I just really hope Mason Miller takes care of his arm and doesn't wind up injured too soon. Cause you know that's a large possibility these days, and you hope that whatever he's doing isn't gonna burn out his arm too quickly. 

Coming Tomorrow- Who'd have thought that San Diego would consistently bring out the best numbers in this guy?

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