Sunday, April 09, 2006

Roberto Hernandez Usurps Mike Gonzalez

The official reason for Pittsburgh's signing of free agent Roberto Hernandez, 16th on the all-time career saves list, was to set up closer Mike Gonzalez. But the real reason was for Hernandez to take over in case Gonzalez falters, which Gonzalez has in three consecutive outings. Bringing Gonzalez into Sunday's game in the eighth makes it abundantly clear that the left-throwing Gonzalez already has earned a significant no-confidence vote. Thus the 41-year-old Hernandez earned his first save by pitching a scoreless ninth to preserve Pittsburgh's 5-3 victory over the Reds. Despite his advanced age and a succession of rocky performances in recent years, Hernandez still throws hard and rebounded in '05, when he recorded a 3.52 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 69 innings. Still, it remains to be seen whether Gonzalez will earn another chance or ultimately become part of a committee with hard-throwing Solomon Torres.


Anonymous said...

You sure about that? I ask this as a concerned fantasy owner, but Rotoworld's theory on the night was that, with Dunn, Griffey Jr, and Womack coming up, it made more sense to use the lefty in the 8th. They seem to think this was just a good management decision, not a sign that Gonzalez is out of the closer's role for good. But yeah, his last few outings have been pretty terrible. I'd say it's going to be a few days before we know for sure.

The Cooperstown Kid said...

Rotoworld's theory has been confirmed. It was odd, though, that Sunday night and all day Monday there seemed to be no concrete info about Gonzalez even though several sources made an exhaustive effort to find out. Thank you for your comment.