Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Joe Nathan Gets Save 300 With an Assist from Marty Foster

Once upon a summer's day, Joe Nathan was as elite a reliever as you could find in all of baseball. As a member of the one-time Major League Baseball organization Minnesota Twins, Nathan established himself as such with an ERA+ of 204 and accruing 18.4 WAR according to Baseball-Reference. He appeared in four All Star Games and had two seasons where he finished in the top five for the American League Cy Young award. Not too shabby for a failed starter.

Although he hasn't been the same quality of reliever that he was for the Twinkies, Nathan has been at the very least, consistent and reliable for the Texas Rangers. Of course, at age 38, it would be unfair to expect anything more from a person who is 12 years away from AARP benefits and 15 years away from needing a colostomy bag. He did post an ERA+ last year of 163 and was still good enough for a bWAR of 1.9. Tommy John Surgery may have extended his career an extra couple of seasons, but chances are, he is coming up on his last ride in the not to distant future.

Of course, getting up there in age as a baseball player has a couple of benefits. One, the league's vision plan covers the cost of needing trifocals, and two, counting stats reach numbers that make most sportswriters waist bands tight. and tonight, was one of those nights.

With Ben Zobrist at the plate, and a man on first base, Joe Nathan threw a 3-2 "curveball," striking out Zobrist looking, and securing both a Rangers win and save number 300. Of course, none of this would've been possible without a liiiiiiiittle bit of help from home plate umpire Marty Foster. First, the picture:

OK, maybe that could be called a strike. It's a 3-2 count, top of the ninth inning, and it's close. Of course, it wasn't really that close. GIF time.

Oh my. Oh my goodness. Yeah, that wasn't even close. Looks like MLB Gameday might want to update it's pitchtrax system. and of course, no episode of "Rays Done Wrong" would be complete without a video that shows Joe Maddon getting all kinds of upset.

The "take away's" from the video; Joe Nathan can't believe it, Ben Zobrist probably wants to "Brett Lawrie" Marty Foster, for Tim Welke's sake, I hope Joe Maddon invests in tic-tac's. And obviously, A.J. Pierzynski is still a total and complete tool bag.

So, congratulations on save number one, Marty Foster, may it be the first of many. To Joe Nathan, good luck on your continued pursuit of your 300th save. I know the books say that you have already gotten to that point, but I'm not counting this one.

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