Thursday, August 16, 2018

Trevor Hildenberger, closer

It is a staple of managerial caution: The closer's job becomes vacant (trade, injury, ineffectiveness) and the skipper says he'll use a "committee" for the ninth inning -- and almost immediately slides one reliever into the ninth inning role.

That's what Paul Molitor did last year when Brandon Kintzler was traded: proclaim a committee and slide Matt Belisle into the role. He did get some long saves from Tyler Duffey and Dillon Gee, but it was Belisle for three outs.

The Twins have had three save opportunities since Fernando Rodney was traded. Trevor Hildenberger got each of them, including Tuesday and Wednesday.

Molitor may not want to proclaim Hildenberger as closer, but what he does is more important than what he says. Hildenberger hasn't pitched in anything other than a ninth-inning save situation since the Rodney trade, and nobody else has pitched in a ninth-inning save situation.

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