Lindstrom not available Saturday
Matt Lindstrom still is the Marlins closer. But not for Saturday night.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez is staying away from using Lindstrom on Saturday because he threw 38 pitches in the ninth inning in Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Phillies.
Lindstrom was tagged for all seven runs in the ninth inning, including a grand slam to Shane Victorino and a solo shot to Chase Utley.
Because of the high pitch count, Lindstrom was given Saturday off. Still, Gonzalez says about Lindstrom, “There’s something special there.”
A closer for the first time, Lindstrom is 3-for-5 this season in save chances, and he’s converted eight of 13 in his career.
The Marlins are being patient with Lindstrom, letting him grow into the role.
“You can’t simulate that seventh inning,” Gonzalez said. “I looked it up. He’s only had 13 opportunities.”
The pressures of the ninth inning just aren’t the same as in the seventh or eighth. Gonzalez notes that starting pitchers feel the same heat while trying to get through the necessary five innings to qualify for a win.
“It’s the ninth inning for the closers and the teams, and it’s the fifth inning for the starters,” Gonzalez said. “How many times do you see the starters go out there, and all a sudden they say, ‘If I get one more hitter, I get the W?’ Then all of a sudden, it’s like base on balls, and 25 pitches later.”
Lindstrom watched some video of his performance on Friday, because he wanted to see the location of his pitches. He admitted to having a rough night of sleep.
“I’ve got to stop getting behind hitters,” Lindstrom said. “I’ve never had an inning like that. Never like that. Not even in the Minor Leagues.
“There were quite a few pitches I’d want back from last night. Pitches I threw with not a lot of conviction, just because my stuff was a little more difficult to harnass last night.”
Lindstrom said his fastball was cutting five or six pitches away from the plate.
“Then I’d have to ease one in there to throw a strike,” Lindstrom said. “That’s not going to cut it, especially when these guys are timing it, timing it and timing it.”
Leo Nunez is the strongest candidate to close, but Gonzalez said he would play matchups.