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5.13.2005

Why Not Walker? 

Brandon Lyon. Chad Cordero. Eric Gagne. Keith Foulke. What do these guys all have common? They all once would have made you titter if someone suggested they could be dominant closers.

You're not tittering now, are you?

So why not Tyler Walker? Because every so often he gets rocked? Sure, but he can also be dominant: fastball in the mid-90s, nasty hard slider, and, once in a while, a change-up. If he can refine the change and be more aggressive with the fastball (as he was tonight), he would have closer stuff.

Whatever that means. Keith Foulke doesn't have "closer stuff." Dustin Hermanson doesn't have "closer stuff." So much of it is mental: don't walk anyone, make good pitches, trust your defense. And shake off the inevitable disasters.

And to a certain extent, Walker just showed he can do that: after his terrible outing Wednesday afternoon vs. Pittsburgh, he comes back with two 1-2-3 saves in two games vs. Houston.

I won't get too excited. Houston batted Jose Vizcaino in the fifth spot tonight, and Morgan Ensberg is their cleanup guy. Ouch. Walker vs. Edmonds/Pujols/Rolen with a one run lead in the top of the ninth will be just a wee bit more challenging.

But for now, why not? If he's confident and throws strikes, he could be the next Joe Nathan.

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