Posted on June 11, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Just when the Washington Nationals thought they had their closer situation figured out, there’s another twist. Koda Glover says he pitched Saturday after hurting his back in the shower. The injury may have been a factor in his blown save and Washington’s loss Saturday against the Rangers. It was his first blown save since being handed the closer’s job full-time last month. Perhaps more importantly, the injury has forced Glover back to the 10-day DL.
“I was taking a shower, bent over to get my body wash, stood up and had a little kink,” Glover explained to reporters after the game. “With some issues I’ve had lately, I kind of pushed myself.”
Glover gave up five runs and recorded just one out in an outing against Oakland last week. He was then charged with three runs against the Rangers on Saturday, again without completing a full inning. Prior to appearing in Saturday’s game, he had not pitched in three days. He says that’s why he declined to tell Nationals manager Dusty Baker or the team’s training staff about his back problem before the game.
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“I didn’t want to take a day off. I’ve had three days off already, so I pushed the limits today, tried to pitch through it,” Glover said. “It’s one of them things where it was out of my control and I should have said something early. I didn’t and now my back’s in pretty bad shape.”
Glover added that he’s been frustrated by the recent string of injuries he’s suffered over the past year. His minor league season was ended early last year because of a torn labrum. He had another hip issue back in April that forced him to spend some time on the DL.
“I’m tired of being hurt,” Glover said. “Never been hurt before until last year, and ever since then, it just seems like something new keeps popping up every day.”
On the season, Glover’s numbers are not all that impressive. Following two bad outings in the past week, his ERA has jumped to 5.12. However, Glover tossed 8.2 scoreless innings during the month of May, making the Nationals comfortable with him as their full-time closer. But now with Glover back on the DL, the Nationals are being forced to reconsider their bullpen options once again.
Even with Joe Blanton being activated from the DL to take Glover’s spot on the roster, the Nationals have few candidates who have proven capable of filling the closer’s role, even temporarily. Blake Treinen and Shawn Kelley competed with Glover for the closer’s job during the spring, with Treinen starting the season as the closer, only to quickly lose the job. Both he and Kelley have been dreadful this season. Outside of Matt Albers, no one in Washington’s bullpen has pitched with any kind of consistency this season.
Ultimately, the Nationals are expected to trade for a more experienced closer this summer, even if Glover recovers and begins to pitch well again. There’s no urgency to do so right know, as Washington has a comfortable lead atop the NL East. Also, the trade market won’t develop much for at least another month. Nevertheless, the Nationals appear to be without a closer yet again. Even if Washington can add an established closer this summer, the rest of the bullpen remains unstable and unreliable.