Washington Nationals: Koda Glover Being Eased Into Closer Role

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Apr 23, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Matt Wieters (32) and relief pitcher Koda Glover (30) celebrate after defeating the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Matt Wieters (32) and relief pitcher Koda Glover (30) celebrate after defeating the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s only two games, but Dusty Baker has not let Washington Nationals manager Koda Glover have a clean inning in a save opportunity

A lot of Washington Nationals fans were happy when Dusty Baker took Blake Treinen out of the closer’s role and put Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley in a shared role. Heading into last night’s game, each closer got two save situations, but it’s been a little different for Glover.

At Citi Field this past weekend, Glover got back-to-back save opportunities and got the job done. In both games, however, Baker has not given him his own innings, which may be by design.

On Saturday, Enny Romero got the first two outs in the ninth and then Glover got pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud to fly out to center for the final out. One night later, the 24-year-old had more of a high leverage situation after Oliver Perez gave up a leadoff single to Jay Bruce in the ninth.

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When watching that game, Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson combined to see 15 pitches in that ninth innings, but Glover kept his cool and struck out Walker looking with a 96 mile per hour sinker and Granderson to ground out to first on a slider.

Glover is going to have to earn the full time closer spot by succeeding in more high leverage situations. Most think he will eventually get the job because of the mentality he brings to the mound and the nasty movement he gets on some of his pitches. But, it will take time and there’s no rush with the team being 13-6 right now.

With that being said, if Kelley is going to clean innings like he did Thursday and Friday, so should Glover during his outings. Baker likes to play the matchups and Romero was the hot hand Saturday. But, if Glover is going to have a chance to take the job from Kelley, then he needs a clean inning.

That being said, the strikeouts seem to becoming back for Glover. After not having a strikeout in his first four appearance, he has six strikeouts in his last seven games. Against his fastball, opposing hitters have a .071 average and he has yet to give up an extra-base hit (courtesy of Brooks Baseball).

Right now, I like the decision to share the closer role because Kelley is the veteran leader of the Washington Nationals bullpen. He deserves an opportunity while Glover pitches more high leverage situations at the big league level.

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But, if Glover is going to have a chance to take the job, it’s time for Baker to give Glover clean innings in the future when there’s a save opportunity.

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