Washington Nationals: Koda Glover In Closer’s Driver Seat

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Nearly 24, Koda Glover has the inside track on the Washington Nationals closing job. How has he reportedly won the job? What happens next?

The Washington Nationals might have settled on a closer, and the winner is a surprise.

FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported Friday night Koda Glover has the inside track over Blake Treinen and expected closer Shawn Kelley. Heyman reported before Kelley was never an option the Nats seriously considered, backed by his lack of pitching time in Grapefruit League action.

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Both Glover and Treinen have showed the ability to shut down hitters and wow fans. Treinen’s sinker was clocked at 102 last week as he has not allowed a hit or run in four innings.

Yet, Glover is the player given the stringent audition. Coming off a hip labrum injury last year, he has 9.2 innings on the resume so far with 12 strikeouts and pitches that explode with movement. Thursday, however, the New York Mets mostly regulars scored two on him in their win.

Despite that bad outing, the Nationals brass will decide over the weekend how they want to go and are ready to hand the job to someone who has not held it before.

Heyman says what the Nats like most about Glover is his attitude.

Quoting a team representative:

“He doesn’t give a (hoot.)”

You need to have a healthy opinion of yourself to be a closer. The job is to strike out everyone in sight and not give other teams the hope of beating you. It worked for Jonathan Papelbon for years. Goose Gossage turned it into a Hall of Fame career.

Any successful pitcher must have the mentality to want to be on the mound. We see it with Max Scherzer who never wants to come out of games. A bulldog attitude—a trance, if you like—separates the great from the good.

With Glover, the Nats are gambling. After an offseason where they failed to land a top notch closer, Washington has to gamble somewhere. Why not Glover?

Kelley was the conventional wisdom pick last February. With eight saves last year—recorded between Papelbon’s departure and the arrival of Mark Melancon—he had the experience and stuff to do the job. Yet, two Tommy John surgeries gave pause on his durability.

Sometimes you need to pitch three nights in a row, and others where you have to go back-to-back. The Nats felt Kelley could not hold up.

With Treinen, his ability to induce ground balls and double plays better suits him now as someone to shut down a rally. If Glover gets the job now, then Treinen will be the backup. His stuff is electric.

Enny Romero has classic closer potential if he can keep his 99-mph fastball in the strike zone. Washington must be giddy after his recent strong performance for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Glover—pegged as the closer of the future—has impressed the most. Dusty Baker pitched him five straight days. When Glover is on his game, he is unhittable.

Next: Looking At Drew Ward

Something the Nationals, and you, want to see plenty of this summer.

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