Saturday, February 25, 2006

Brian Fuentes: Man for All Seasons

So much for those schizophrenic Colorado splits. The Rockies at last have a pitcher who can perform about equally as well versus lefties and righties and at home and away. All-Star Brian Fuentes, who struck out 11 batters for every nine innings pitched to save 31 of 33 attempts after winning the closer's job in mid-May of '05, owns an approximate .290 opposition batting average both at home and away. The fireballing lefty also is about as effective against righties as he is against southpaws. Fuentes comes at right-handed batters with a peculiar, short-armed side motion that runs in at the plate at more than 90 mph and is complemented by a solid, hard slider. His stubby throwing motion has earned him the nickname T-Rex. Fuentes had a couple of rough outings late last year, which saw his ERA for September balloon to 27.00. Management is hoping the downturn was merely a result of Fuentes tiring a little rather than a sign of serious fatigue or of hitters figuring him out. Fuentes and teammate OF Matt Holliday have been chosen by U.S. team manager Buck Martinez to play for the Americans in the upcoming World Classic games.