Thursday, June 16, 2011

MARINERS: I'm sorry for doubting you Brandon League

Remember when we all hated Brandon League?

Remember in 2010 when he blew 7 saves and infuriated Mariners fans? Well, actually, blowing 7 saves isn’t THAT bad, but Mariners fans just needed multiple players to blame for a 101-loss 2010 season, and League fell under that hate umbrella.

With 2009-2010 closer David Aardsma injured coming into spring training, the closer spot was going to be a fight between Brandon League, Dan Cortes, and Chris Ray. None of these players wowed the coaching staff in Arizona, so almost by default, League acquired the job… or at least until Aardsma could become healthy.

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I’ll have to admit, I didn’t like the decision. He seemed way too erratic to be a fulltime closer, and it seemed as though he lacked composure on the mound. My friends and I were shamefully on the Brandon League hate bandwagon. We would just hate on him for the sake of hating on him. Whenever I heard Dave Sims utter the phrase “And here comes Brandon League in from the bullpen”, I would throw my hands up in the air asking how the Mariners could possibly deal with this guy.

Well, I’ve had to eat my words. Big time.

League currently leads the American League lead in saves with 19, and aside from a 4 game stretch where he blew 4 saves, he has been lights out all season.

Brandon League has proven himself to his coaches too. When League did go through that stretch, there were fans who wanted League out of the closing spot. But Eric Wedge thought otherwise.

“He’s still our closer. One of the things I love about Brandon is he’s strong, he has an even temperament, but there’s a quiet intensity there,” Wedge said. “He has some experience and he’s a pro. He’ll handle this and come back from it even a little bit stronger. You really don’t become a full-fledged closer until you blow a couple and then come back from them, anyway.”

League has been a lot more confident on the mound this season, and that might have something to do with Wedge’s kind words. Brandon is averaging 6.21 strikeouts/9 innings, and is only averaging 1.24 walks/9 innings this year as opposed to 3.08 walks/9 innings in 2010.

David Aardsma doesn’t appear to be coming back anytime soon with him just being put on the 60-day DL. The closing spot is League’s to lose at this point.

Sorry for doubting you Brandon. My bad.

Oh, and in case you didn't realize, tomorrow (June 17), the Mariners will be playing the Philadelphia Phillies for potentially (if Texas loses) first place in the AL West.

Texas3634.514-2-8L520-1316-216/16 @ NYY, L 2-36/17 @ ATL, 7:35 PM
Seattle3534.5070.54-6W119-1716-176/15 vs LAA, W 3-16/17 vs PHI, 10:10 PM
LA Angels3337.4713.03-7L115-2018-176/15 @ SEA, L 1-36/17 @ NYM, 7:10 PM
Oakland3040.4296.03-7W216-1614-246/16 vs KC, W 8-46/17 vs SF, 10:05 PM
Reach Nathan Parsons at