With starting pitcher Gavin Floyd going eight innings in the Sox's 6-1 win over Tampa Bay, the bullpen was finally not the topic of discussion for the day -- or make that the topic of frustration.
But manager Ozzie Guillen shed further light on the plan for the late innings in tight games, specifically going into details about the closer role and how he will use the versatility the pen has to his advantage.
Matt Thornton, who was named the closer in spring training, blew both of his opportunities in the first week. He will still see a majority of the save chances, according to Guillen. But the lefty will not be alone. There will also be a mix and match involved in the decision making as well.
"I've got three or four guys who can close," Guillen said. "I got (Jesse) Crain, (Chris) Sale, (Sergio) Santos and Thornton that can close the end of the game. Don't be surprised if you see one of those guys. We'll do that because someone needs the rest or we like the matchup better. There's a lot of things going through our minds about who's going to be pitching the ninth."
With Thornton blowing the lead in Friday's late-inning meltdown, and taking 33 pitches to do so, he was not available for Saturday's save opportunity. Sale got it done, but allowed a run in the two-run win.
"I didn't use Thornton (Saturday) because we used him too much the night before -- he got too many pitches," Guillen said. "If Thornton was ready (Saturday), I would have put him in. That's the way it should be. Meanwhile, don't be surprised when you see Santos on the mound in closing situations."
There was a precedent that Guillen was working off of, specifically the 2005 World Series team that started with Shingo Takatsu as the closer, before going to Dustin Hermanson and then Bobby Jenks.
"The closer has to do (three) things: have one pitch to strike you out and a very short memory. And deal with the media every day," Guillen said. "If you don't have those three things, you can't be a closer because when you save the game, the media's going to be with you and when you blow the game, the media's going to be with you. And when you lose the game today, you have to be ready to go tomorrow. That's why I think Bobby (Jenks) was a great closer."
Which one of the current relievers meets the criteria?
"We will find out," Guillen said.
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