Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sherrill saves attention for winning

MINNEAPOLIS- When the Orioles struggle, so do George Sherrill's save numbers. Beyond that, he could care less that he had gone more than two weeks since recording his last save before locking down Monday's 6-3 win against Boston.

"I really don't care about saves," Sherrill said. "If I get them, that means we are winning. It's good for us to stop the bleeding a little bit, and good for me to get back out there."

Sherrill's save ensured the Orioles had snapped a four-game losing streak. Since his last save, on May 17, Baltimore had gone 3-10. Sherrill appeared in four games since then, and was tagged with the loss on May 25 after giving up the game-winning run against the Rays.

Monday's save was no piece of cake, however. Sherrill inherited a three-run lead, but surrendered two-out walks to Julio Lugo and Kevin Youkilis. He got out of the game by inducing a Manny Ramirez flyout to right field.

"I still felt a little rusty last night," Sherrill said. "It's just a matter of going out and making your pitches and just throwing strikes. I did it for the first couple hitters, and then the ball started going everywhere."

Coming into Tuesday's action, Sherrill has 18 saves, good for second in the American League behind the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez, who has 22. Sherrill has a 3.28 ERA.

Sherrill has adapted quickly to the closer's role since coming over in an offseason deal with Seattle. Sherrill said being a closer is "really no different than being a lefty specialist," his role in Seattle, because both require pitching in pressure-packed situations.

He has emulated certain closers such as Trevor Hoffman, Brian Fuentes, and Eddie Guardado, whom Sherrill played with in Seattle. He said he picked Guardado's brain, and he emulated the former Twins and Mariners closer more than Billy Wagner, the flame-throwing lefty reliever for the Mets.

"I would have to go more Guardado or Fuentes," Sherrill said of his influences, "just because I don't throw 98 mph, you know?"


Baltimore Orioles News