The Cincinnati Reds were thrown a curve ball the week before the 2012 season began when Ryan Madson, a pick up from the Philadelphia Phillies, went down with an elbow injury that would sideline him for the season. The conventional thinking was the Reds would platoon for the closer position until someone emerged. That didn’t happen. Manager Dusty Baker tabbed Sean Marshall as his closer and the Reds have found their replacement for Madson.
Sean Marshall came to the the Reds via a trade with the Chicago Cubs in December of 2011 to be the set-up man. He came with a set-up pedigree. While with the Cubs, he amassed a record of 32-40, an ERA of 3.94, 7 saves and 449 strikeouts in 530 innings pitched.
While I believe that Aroldis Chapman is, by far, the most feared member of the Reds’ bullpen and would make a stupendous closer, Baker has chosen to use him as the set-up man for Sean Marshall. It is Marshall’s job to lose as of now.
And lose, well, he hasn’t done. He has appeared in 7 games for the Reds this season and has an 0-1 record, 10 strikeouts and 2 base-on-balls. Most importantly, however, is he has appeared in 4 game saving situations and has come up with 4 saves. That is, by definition, what a closer is supposed to do.
I have to say, though, having Aroldis Chapman as your set-up guy is a waste of God-given talent. Either move a pitcher out (Homer Bailey or Mike Leake) and put him in the starting rotation, or put him as your closer. His stuff is just nasty right now.
I guess Dusty Baker does know a little about baseball. While I disagree with who the closer should be, I cannot argue with the success of the closer he has chosen. It certainly appears that the Cincinnati Reds have found their closer for the 2012 season – Sean Marshall.