The Miami Marlins managed to snap a five-game losing streak on Saturday night. Needing all 10 of the runs they scored, Steckenrider closed the door.
Saturday night was the first time that Drew Steckenrider recorded a save at the Major League level. Shutting the door for the Miami Marlins might is something he’ll need to get used to in the future. Expect his four-out save the become the norm before too long.
The Miami Marlins managed to put up 10-runs against the Phillies on Saturday night. Leading 10-4 going into eighth inning, the Phillies mounted a five-run inning with two outs. The lead narrowed to only one run, and Steckenrider was asked to record the final four outs.
He didn’t waiver, and the Phillies were retired with little drama.
Veteran pitcher Brad Ziegler has pitched well in the closer role this season. He’s converted nine of his 10 opportunities with his only blown save coming on Friday night, the second game of this series. But manager Don Mattingly balked at the notion of using him three days in a row.
Steckenrider made the most of his opportunity and further cemented himself as a building block in the Marlins bullpen. His youth, effectiveness, and the fact that he’s yet to exceed his rookie limits make him a prime candidate for the closer role in 2018.
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Of course, he’ll have Kyle Barraclough to contend with. The heir apparent to shut the door for the Marlins was passed over when AJ Ramos was dealt to the Mets. It was largely a result of his being on the disabled list when the opportunity presented itself.
Brad Ziegler has let go of the keys since.
The long run
There is little argument to be made that Ziegler is the long-term solution at the backend of the bullpen. He signed a lucrative two-year contract in free agency prior to this season.
Beyond that, it’s unlikely they’ll retain his services.
That’s where things will get interesting. Barraclough won’t be arbitration eligible until 2019, and won’t hit free agency until 2022. The competition for the role appears to be coming down to Steckenrider vs. Barraclough early on.
Of course, there is the notion that the save is a useless statistic and that assigning someone the role of “closer” is altogether useless. That may be, but the word “closer” at this point has morphed to mean “best reliever”. There isn’t much argument against Steckenrider there.
Steckenrider’s numbers are impressive, particularly through the month of August. He’s emerged as a reliable power arm out of the bullpen for the Miami Marlins. Saturday night might have been the first Major League save he’s ever recorded, but it won’t be his last.