As Opening Day nears, the Twins still need to hammer out who will be the closer this year. The closer needs to be one of the best pitchers on a baseball team. That particular player has to come into a game and really focus on the catcher and not be distracted by the roaring crowd. More times than not, they have to protect an one or two-run lead and have no room for errors or goof-ups. Coming into Spring Training, the Twins had two experienced closers on their roster. So, who will be the chosen one to close games in year two of Target Field: Joe Nathan or Matt Capps?
Joe Nathan, who is recovering nicely from Tommy John surgery a year ago, is one of the premium closers in the league. After he was signed as a short stop by the Giants in 1995, he was transformed into a pitcher. Nathan than proved he could pitch and pitch well. The four-time All-Star saved a career high 47 games in 2009, which was the last time he pitched in a regular season game. Since arriving to the Twins in 2004, Nathan has saved an astonishing 246 games. Even though Nathan often looks nervous while pitching, he comes with a fantastic fastball and a devastating curve ball. At the end of his last outing, he took a handful of dirt from the Dome and was going to spread it around Target Field’s mound. He never got that chance, but he will this April.
Matt Capps, who was re-signed by the Twins in January, is another good closer. Capps was signed by the Pirates in 2002. Playing for three teams in five years, Capps has saved a total of 109 games. Last year with the Twins, Capps saved 16 games with an ERA of 2.00. He has participated in one All-Star game in 2010. Capps seems to lose control of games at times, blowing seven games with the Twins last season. Capps was originally signed by the Twins last July to give the Twins more support in the bullpen.
In my opinion, Nathan should be the one chosen to close in 2011. He has better pitching mechanics then Capps. Capps should be the set-up pitcher, replacing the role of Jesse Crain. Nathan and Capps could be a dynamic duo at the end of the bullpen. I am anxious to see where the Twins put these great pitchers!
Written by: Michael L. Sack