(WSCR) Coming into this season, Matt Thornton was named as the closer. But after struggling early on, the White Sox removed him from that position and went with a closer-by-committee approach. Now it seems as if Sergio Santos has taken that role for himself.
With Santos’ success so far this season (16-for-18 in save opportunities and a 3.08 ERA through 38 innings) it can be hard to maintain realistic expectations.
“This is his second full year, in the big leagues,” White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said on the Mully and Hanley Show. “He’s still learning how to pitch, never mind learning how to close. And everything we go through, we take it as a learning experience, and we’re talking about different things and how to deal with stuff. And we’re also talking about how to get more consistent with the slider, command the fastball. There’s so much, I mean, I have to remind myself that this is his first full year.”
LISTEN: Don Cooper On The Mully And Hanley Show
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Being a player in their first season as a closer, in their second full season in the majors is tough enough, but doing it in a city like Chicago makes things even tougher. Fans have certain expectations, and if they’re not met, things can get ugly.
“I don’t care who you are, you’re going to have failure,” Cooper said. “You’re going to miss sometimes. Everybody in the playoffs last year had a closer, and every closer in the playoffs, other than Mariano [Rivera] who is a freak, all lost five to nine games. So it happens, but you have to be able to bounce back from it.”